LONDON, Ont. -- Team Canada avoided a complete collapse when Jennifer Jones stole a victory from the grasp of Alberta's desperate Cathy King last night.
King crashed on a guard attempting a raise-back hit for the winning deuce with the hammer in the 10th end, allowing the defending champs a 9-7 victory in what was a sloppily-played game by both sides at the John Labatt Centre.
Although Jones advances to tonight's Page playoff three-four match at 6 p.m., the triumph was typical of the way the week has gone for the Jones foursome. Although inconsistent all week, it still found ways to win.
"We weren't sharp but pulled out a win so, that's really all that matters," said Jones, who gets the hammer tonight. "The game went back and forth. I don't know if we escaped. We had opportunities and they had opportunities and we capitalized, I guess, on more of ours.
"It's a good win for us and we're in the playoffs, which was our goal at the beginning of the week."
Yet, Jones shot only 59% versus Alberta and 63% in a 7-5 loss to B.C.'s Kelly Scott yesterday morning and has yet to look like the skip that others feared to play last year. Jones, in fact, finished tied for eighth amongst skips with a week-long 70%. Every other member of the team was third or better.
"You like to go in playing a little better and with a little more momentum," admitted Canada lead Georgina Wheatcroft, who actually finished first in percentages with 85. "We have enough experience on this team that we know we have to turn it up now or we'll be going home. So, it's do-or-die and we'll be ready to play (tonight)."
They had better be closer to the top of their game when they play the winner of this morning's tiebreaker between Newfoundland's Heather Strong and Quebec's Eve Belisle.
'Turn up the burner'
"The goal was to make the playoffs at the beginning of the week and we've done that," Wheatcroft said. "Now, we have to turn up the burner.
"We know what we have to do. We're going to be playing a good team and we have to go out and do our thing, play our game and get into our comfort zone. We'll be ready to play."
The winner will play the loser of this afternoon's Page playoff one-two match between Nova Scotia's Colleen Jones and Scott. The loser goes home.
Jennifer Jones finished first last year, giving her an extra life in the playoffs.
"Obviously, the one-two game is nice but as long as you're in, that's all that matters," she said.
Meanwhile, Manitoba's Janet Harvey clobbered Yukon/N.W.T.'s Kerry Koe 9-4 to post a 4-7 record, tying the Manitoba record for futility at a Scott (although there were worse Manitoba results before Scott Paper took over the national championship).
"Obviously, it's very frustrating," Manitoba third Jill Thurston said before the game. "We're disappointed with the way we played but there's a lot of other teams that would have liked to have been here. I'm very proud of the way this team's played all year long and we were very happy to be here."