Manitoba showdown

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 12:04 PM ET

LONDON, Ont. -- It won't take long for the drama to unfold for both of the Keystone Province's favourite daughters here tonight.

The second draw of the Scott Tournament of Hearts will feature Manitoba versus Manitoba. Well, at least Manitoba's Janet Harvey versus Team Canada's Jennifer Jones.

"You've got to play them sometime throughout the week, you might as well get it over with the first night," Harvey philosophized. "It's probably an anticipated game by some of the media whenever Team Canada plays the home province. But we've played them before, we know what to expect. It will be a good game, for sure."

Actually, Jones has beaten Harvey handily both times the two met this season.

"We've played against each other for years," Jones said. "It's a nice way to start, just because we know them, and obviously it's good way for us to get on the ice against people we know and respect."

But it could be a tell-tale game, particularly for Harvey, who has not been to the Scott since 1997.

"Tough first game, obviously, but I think we have to treat it just like any other team, another good team," said Carey Burgess, Harvey's lead.

Both Harvey and her third, Jill Thurston, have played with Canada third Cathy Overton-Clapham in the past. And, of course, there is the natural cross-town rivalry.

"When you play certain teams from your own province, there might be a little more determination than when you play others," said Canada second Jill Officer.

"It's good we're playing each other off the hop and kind of get it out of the way, so to speak," Thurston said. "Then, move on and get into your own little thing without having to worry about your other competitors."

Trouble is, one Manitoba-based team will open with a loss.

"It's a good way to start off the event," Officer said. "I know it will be a great game, but it's only one game."

CHASING HISTORY: Nova Scotia's Colleen Jones beat Manitoba's Dot Rose 8-7 in the final of the first national women's championship known as the Scott Tournament of Hearts in 1982. Jones is one of the favourites to win it again 25 years later.

"It would be incredible," said Jones, 46. "It would be absolutely amazing. When I think it was 25 years ago when we won our first one and if you had asked me then if we'd be here now, I would have said, 'No way.' So it's amazing that 25 years have passed and we're still playing and still competitive.

"When I was playing against Dot Rose in the final, who would have been my age, I thought, 'Oh, she's like a grandmother.' Now I'm playing little kids. For example, New Brunswick (Andrea Kelly's squad) wasn't alive when I won. Tell them it was greater than what it was."

KLEIBRINK COMING: Canada's Olympic bronze medallist Shannon Kleibrink and her team will be honoured here Friday. Unlike Kelley Law, who won the bronze in 2002, Kleibrink did not demand more than what Scott Paper offered her to come, said a Scott rep.

HOT SHOTS: Team Canada skip Jennifer Jones, Manitoba skip Janet Harvey and her third, Jill Thurston, advanced to today's final round of the Ford Hot Shots.

BENDER'S SCOTT PICKS

1. Jennifer Jones, Canada (3-1) ... lookin' good again

2. Kelly Scott, B.C. (5-1) ... on trials rebound

3. Cathy King, Alberta (8-1) ... on royal roll

4. Colleen Jones, N.S. (10-1) ... seeking historic win

5. Janet Harvey, Manitoba (15-1) ... the dark mare (bison?)

6. Suzanne Gaudet, P.E.I. (20-1) ... will spud along

7. Heather Strong, Newfoundland (25-1) ... on golden Gushue high

8. Krista Scharf, Ontario (30-1) ... hometown fave

9. Kerry Koe (40-1) Yukon/NWT ... may mush right in there

10. Andrea Kelly, N.B. (50-1) ... future star

11. Tracy Streifel, Sask. (80-1) ... trifle unknown

12. Eva Belisle, Quebec (100-1) ... je ne sais quoi


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