Debut drubbing

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:50 AM ET

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. -- Cathy O was brutally honest.

Manitoba's Jennifer Jones played like a D-division team at the Fort Rouge as Saskatchewan veteran Jan Betker flailed the former Canadian champs 9-3 in their opening game of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts before 3,483 fans at the Enmax Centre yesterday.

"Oh, we didn't play well," assessed Manitoba third Cathy Overton-Clapham. "We didn't play that poorly in a long time. It doesn't feel so good. We got a good kick in the ass there so we'll have too come out and play better the next game."

And the proof was in the percentages.

Jones shot only 68% while Overton-Clapham was a team-low 67%. And most troublesome was the fact that the usually confident Jones failed to bail her team out when it needed her most.

A heavy draw in the first end allowed Betker to steal two and Jones failed to score a deuce twice in later ends.

STRUGGLED

"Credit to them, they played very well," Overton-Clapham said. "They didn't miss much and we were behind the eight-ball right from the get-go. We struggled a little bit with draw weight and the ice, and our rocks weren't going to the spots where we wanted. And when we had opportunities, we didn't capitalize."

But with Manitoba's world-renowned icemaker Hans Wuthrich handling the ice here, that wasn't supposed to happen.

"I don't know if we had any advantage," said Jones, who was playing the Yukon/NWT in the late draw. "I mean, all the ice we play on is very similar. It was just a little straighter than we anticipated and we didn't pick up on it.

'LITTLE BIT OFF'

"I don't think we were that bad. We were just a little bit off and a little bit off in this competition is going to mean you're going to lose the game ... I missed the draw in the first end and that kind of set the tone. If we make that, maybe the game's different."

Betker, who is supported by new third Lana Vey, second Nancy Inglis and Marcia Gudereit, believes the key for her squad was just to stay loose.

"We're just having some fun, getting on to the ice really quickly and had great weight," she said. "And everybody played great.

"We know we can play with any of these teams. On any given day, anybody can beat anybody and everybody knows that. It's just a matter of controlling the nerves and trying to play as basic as you can and stay loose."

Jones plays Nova Scotia this afternoon.

BITER: TSN's Cathy Gauthier, a three-time Canadian champ, has been told she will be inducted into the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame this year.


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