Another shot at glory

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 11:06 AM ET

LONDON, Ont. -- The frustration of their experience at the Canadian Curling Trials, it seems, has been put behind them.

CANADA 10 NOVA SCOTIA 4

The kidney stones, poor play, lack of sharpness in Halifax in December seem a distant memory now that Winnipeg's Jennifer Jones will attempt to defend her Team Canada title in the final of the Scott Tournament of Hearts versus B.C.'s Kelly Scott today at 11:30 a.m. (CBC-TV).

Jones advanced to the final by blasting Nova Scotia's six-time national champion Colleen Jones 10-4 in the semifinal played before 6,163 fans at the John Labatt Centre yesterday.

"Absolutely, we were disappointed after the Olympic trials," said Jennifer Jones. "We didn't play the way that we could but regardless, playing a world championship in Canada is unbelievable and something I would love to experience and the rest of us would love to, too. So hopefully, we'll have that chance."

Today's winner will represent Canada at the women's world championship in Grande Prairie, Alta., March 18-26.

And the Team Canada skip has started to light it up in the playoffs after coughing and sputtering through the round robin. She outshot Colleen Jones 91% to 63% in the semifinal.

"Jen played great," said Canada's all-star lead Georgina Wheatcroft. "She played excellent and Colleen may have struggled a little more than you would normally see her. Jen just capitalized on every opportunity she got from the other skip and that's what you've got to do to win big games -- capitalize on other people's mistakes."

Canada cracked a three in the sixth end to take a 6-3 lead, avoided giving up a three on the ensuing end, then punctuated its victory with a four in the eighth and final end.

"We seem to be getting better in the playoffs, which I think is the right time," said Jennifer Jones, who praised teammates Cathy Overton-Clapham, second Jill Officer and Wheatcroft. "So, I thought we were even sharper (yesterday) than we were (Friday) and I think we'll come out even sharper (today)."

Not so sharp was her opposing skip.

"I didn't have a good game and Jennifer was on fire," said Colleen Jones.

"I felt my team definitely put me into situations where we could score multiple points but I had a bad game. So, there's not a lot you can do when it's just not your day at the office.

"She (Jennifer Jones) couldn't do anything wrong so, maybe I'll take a little consolation in that, even if I played the lights out, too, she was just going to one-up me all the time.

"When a skip's not drawing, you're not winning and I definitely didn't have draw weight. That was obvious from the first draw for two (that she blew). You have to have it, that's your bread and butter."

Earlier in the week, Jennifer Jones seemed to be missing bread some games, butter others but never felt she would fail to at least make it to the final.

IMPROVED PLAY

"I thought we were playing really well," she said. "You look at the stats and they probably weren't as good as you probably thought they should be. But I felt really great out there and I was just rubbing on every guard and I knew eventually that that would turn around and we'd get it going our way. We've got it going our way right now so, it's great."

Wheatcroft, who replaced Cathy Gauthier at lead for Team Canada this year, could apparently become the first non-skip to win three different Scotts with three different teams.

"Excellent, let's just do that then," she joked.


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