Showdown looming

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:19 AM ET

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. -- Team Canada 2007 clinched a playoff berth at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts. And so did Team Canada 2006.

Team Canada's Kelly Scott clobbered Saskatchewan's Jan Betker 8-2 at the Enmax Centre last night to move into a first-place tie with Manitoba's Jennifer Jones -- the team she beat in last year's final -- at 8-1. And they meet this afternoon.

"We were just thinking out there, 'OK, we're ready for playoffs,'" Scott said. "But we're not done yet. That (Page playoff) one-two game is huge and we there's still things we can do, like getting the hammer and choice of rocks."

Scott added that she expected to see Jones again after today.

Betker dropped to 7-2 , alone in third place.

Jones ambushed Alberta's Cheryl Bernard 10-3.

"Cheryl's a great team but we were pretty sharp and got the rolls," Jones said. "And they were just a little bit short of them."

Like Scott, Jones has also clinched a playoff berth.

"That's exactly where we wanted to be at the start of the week," she said. "We've done that, now we just want to finish the week off strong and give ourselves a good shot."

Bernard dropped to 5-4 and a share of fourth place with B.C.'s Kelley Law, Ontario's Krista Scharf and possibly Newfoundland's Heather Strong, who was still on the ice at press time last night.

"We've just got to get back to the way we were playing before and if we win our last two games, we'll be in the playoffs," Bernard surmised.

Strong opened things up with an 8-7 extra-end victory over Law earlier in the day.

"We were just focusing on our game knowing we needed to win to give ourselves a shot at being around later in the week," Strong said.

Earlier, Bernard stretched her winning streak to four straight by posting a 5-4 triumph over Ontario.

Betker improved to 7-1 with an 8-1 win over New Brunswick's winless Sandy Comeau in the morning. And she has already exceeded expectations.

"You know, 7-1 is pretty lofty," Betker conceded. "To think you'd be 7-1 after eight games, you don't really think that. But I'm not surprised at how we're playing. I knew we were capable of playing well."

Jones won her seventh straight when she sunk Scharf 8-5.

"We'd still like to win the rest of them, for sure," said Manitoba third Cathy Overton-Clapham. "We'd like to be in that one-two game if we could and we just have to keep playing better with each game."


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