Jones aims to erase bad memories

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 11:06 AM ET

LONDON, Ont. -- Call it surreal or just plain peculiar.

But this morning's Scott Tournament of Hearts final not only features two skips who learned the game as juniors in Manitoba but two curlers who actually played together back in 1991.

Team Canada's Jennifer Jones played third while B.C.'s Kelly Scott was the lead for Jill Thurston when they lost the 1991 national junior final together. Now the two face each other for the chance to go the women's world championship.

"It's pretty wild -- two skips from different provinces," Scott said yesterday. "It's an accomplishment for both of us. I was 13 and my first taste of national competition and our skip, Jill Thurston, was the real leader on the team and she was the one I looked to."

But neither ever imagined back then that this could be a possibility.

"I never thought about that back then but she's a great player and you have to expect that she would be here and I had hoped I would be here," said Jones. "She was still growing up and so was I, and it's kind of neat that we get to play each other."

Actually, the two faced each other in the 1995 provincial junior championship and later for the right to go to the 1995 junior world championship, with Scott emerging the victor both times. It's a long story and a bitter memory for Jones. Scott (nee MacKenzie) then won the world crown with current second, Sasha Carter (nee Bergner), at lead.

And once again, both have formed championship-calibre teams that have adopted aggressive styles that are most pleasing to curling fans.

"They're a great team, they've had a great week," Jones said. "Lead to skip is solid and I expect it to be a really good game (today). It will probably come down to last rock and hopefully, we'll have it this time because they had it in the round robin."

Scott, however, will have both hammer and rock choice today.

SHOULD BE EXCITING

"To be the best, you want to play the best," said Scott. "I think it will be an exciting game with a few rocks in play and I'm sure, every end will have a lot of possibilities attached to it. It's just going to be whoever's the big shot at the end that will score the points."

The winner will earn a total of $23,000, a Canada Cup berth and, if it medals at the worlds, a Continental Cup spot.

Jones believes her team has a slight advantage as the defending champ.

"Last year, I didn't know what to expect," she said. "We had a bit of nerves going into the game. This year, I know what to expect and we know how to feel. We just have to go out and enjoy it. So, experience definitely helps in those situations."

And Scott did admit to being nervous.

"But we're excited," she said. "We're anxious to play."

DREAM TEAMS: Scott and her third, Jeanna Schraeder, were named to the first all-star squad by the Canadian Curling Reporters along with Mary-Anne Arsenault (N.S.) and Georgina Wheatcroft (Canada). The second team is comprised of skip Heather Strong (N.L.), third Cathy Overton-Clapham (Canada), second Sasha Carter (B.C.) and Nancy Delahunt (N.S.).


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