LONDON, Ont. -- Time to worry already.
Both Manitoba-based teams suffered setbacks on Black Sunday, and they did it against opponents that, on paper, had no right beating them on the national Scott Tournament of Hearts national women's curling championship stage.
There is no way to sugarcoat it: Neither played up to par and could pay for it before the week is out.
Newfoundland's Heather Strong simply clobbered Team Canada's Jennifer Jones 9-3 at the John Labatt Centre yesterday afternoon. Newfoundland! Three-quarters of that squad finished a lowly 1-10 in their home province at last year's Scott.
And, just as bad, Quebec's Eve Belisle edged Manitoba's Janet Harvey 8-7. Not a single member of the young Quebec squad has even been to the Scott before.
Harvey is well aware that those are the types of teams she needs to beat to have any hope of making the playoffs here.
"Oh yeah, but there's not much you can do about it," said Harvey, who actually out-shot Belisle 83% to 74%. "You just have to bear down and try to play a little bit better and make one or two shots more a game."
"It is frustrating, but there's nothing you can do about it. Onward and upward."
Harvey then rebounded with an 8-6 victory over Newfoundland -- another foursome she was expected to beat -- to record her first win of the week. But she was relieved that Strong missed her last shot for four.
"I thought we played well, and we're happy with the win," said Harvey, now 1-2. "We just need to put a lot of wins together now."
Although Jones also rebounded with a 6-5 triumph over Quebec, she has yet to flex her defending champ muscle this week.
"You always come into this event saying you can't lose two in a row, and if you can do that, you should be in pretty good shape," said Jones, who improved to 2-1. "And that was a must-win game for us."
To think, a must-win on Day 2! And Jones readily admitted that there is room for marked improvement.
'Just get better'
"We're not playing as well as we can, but we are playing well for this time of the week," she said. "And, like we always try to do, just get better with each game."
Jones also conceded that the youngsters from La Belle Provence threw a scare into her foursome.
"They're all great teams to get here, and they've got nothing to lose," she said. "Obviously, they're playing well. They were 2-0 coming into this game."
Although Jones knows that the Newfoundland game could be one that got away when she looks back at the end of the week, she refused to allow it to deflate her team.
"Heather and her team just played great, and hats off to them," she said. "It's a long week, you're going to lose some. You're not going to go through undefeated. It sure would have been nice to win, but we've got a long way to go. It doesn't matter when you lose them, you've just got to try to give yourself a chance."
But the best way to do that is to win early and often.
"It's a long week, and any time you can get a win, it's exciting," Strong said before losing to Harvey. "You've got to build some momentum and the way to go about that is to win some games early in the week."
It is indeed a long week, and it will get a lot longer if our Manitobans cannot rediscover the games that got them here -- and maintain that higher level of play.
Jones plays P.E.I.'s Suzanne Gaudet (1-2) and Yukon/N.W.T.'s Kerry Koe (0-3) today -- two more squads she is favoured to beat.
Harvey meets N.B.'s Andrea Kelly (2-1) and Alberta's Cathy King (2-1), and those results will indicate the kind of fate she can expect this week.