Comeback falls short

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:50 AM ET

LONDON, Ont. -- Jill Officer stood facing interrogators, tears welled in her eyes and her voice shaking.

"I felt that maybe I could have played a little bit better," the Team Canada second said after her foursome dropped an 8-6 decision to B.C.'s Kelly Scott in the Scott Tournament of Hearts final yesterday. "But, aside from that, we fought really hard and we should be happy about that."

The Jennifer Jones squad did battle back valiantly. But if it had played better at the start of the match, it would not have found itself in that situation. Scott cracked a three in the third, then stole one in the fourth to take a 5-1 lead.

"We just didn't put our rocks in the right spots," admitted third Cathy Overton-Clapham, 35. "I really felt that draw weight changed. I had my draw weight the entire week, then it just seemed like it got a little flat and I don't know if it was because of the number of people in the building or what. But, um, (crappy)."

But what a way to lose, especially after the foursome caught fire in the two previous playoff games.

Struggled with nerves

"They (Scott) came out firing and played really well," said Canada lead Georgina Wheatcroft. "And we struggled a bit with our nerves, I think, in the beginning. But we came around and really started to put the pressure on them."

Wheatcroft, 40, volunteered to replace the retired Cathy Gauthier at lead and has spent the season commuting from B.C., (to an official residence in Manitoba) to pursue a return to the Olympics and a Scott title. Her status with this team remains up in the air.

"Obviously, if we had won this, there wouldn't be a decision to have to be made," said the first-team all-star. "But it's a huge commitment. My family's still in Vancouver and I'll have to sit back and think about it. Maybe this wasn't meant to be and maybe there's a reason why.

"Any time you lose a final, it's not a very good feeling. It was a great week and a sad way to end it."

But Jones, 31, will be back, vowed the surprisingly upbeat skip.

"We're pretty happy about the way we played," she said. "We turned it on in the playoffs, which is what great teams do. We had a great year. It's the first final we've actually lost all year. We go to Players' Championship in a month and hopefully, we play well there.

"It was a great experience to be out there, win or lose. I mean, we were in the final and every team wants to be there. We had a great time out there, we fought for it and it just wasn't our day, and there's not really much you can do about it. Obviously, we're disappointed. Being Team Canada was just a thrill of a lifetime and I never wanted it to end, but we'll be back."

Overton-Clapham echoed those sentiments.

"Obviously, our goal was to win the trials and when that didn't happen, we reassessed and we wanted to win this championship," she said.

"Then that didn't happen. But overall, we really had a great year.

"It's always tough to lose. You want to come out and play your best and when you don't do that, it's hard to take. Obviously, this one stings the most right now because it's very fresh. But we'll be back next year, trying to get back in this thing to win again. It's a thrill to be Team Canada and once you've had a taste of it, you always want it."

And they can learn from their experience this season.

"It is a disappointment but you can learn something from everything," said Officer, 30. "We did really great this week, we fought really hard and we should be proud of ourselves."


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