Slip-sliding away

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:52 AM ET

REGINA -- The conventional wisdom here is that a 7-4 record usually gets you into the playoffs.

But not always.

Some have suggested that a 6-5 mark might even get you into a tie-breaker at this year's Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

But not necessarily.

That, however, means Manitoba's Jennifer Jones can ill afford any more losses. The Buffalo gals have not looked like the juggernaut that won everything but the Hearts last year. But they did at least make it to the semifinal.

Nor have they looked like the fearsome foursome that was tearing up the cashspiel circuit until they were stopped cold, failing to even qualify for the playoffs at the last women's Grand Slam.

Jones was not dominant at the Manitoba provincials and may still be bugged about the negative reaction to the burned-rock incident in Gimli.

The bottom line is that Jones fell to 3-4 after dropping a 10-3 decision to Alberta's Shannon Kleibrink at the Brandt Centre last night. And not only did they lose, they looked gawd-awful doing it. In fact, just a day after Jones posted her worst loss ever in five trips to the Hearts, she turned in her worst performance ever, percentage-wise. Jones shot a miserable 16% through the first four ends and finished at a deplorable 47%. Then again, she did not have much help as she needed to make a circus shot with the hammer in each of the first four ends, and failed each time. And no, Kleibrink's squad did not miss much.

"It was probably our worst team game, with the exception of (lead) Dawn (Askin)," Jones readily admitted. "I thought Dawn played well. We just couldn't get our rocks in the right spot. We were behind the tee-line and now we're behind the 8-ball. Now, our backs are against the wall. We know we have to win and hope. If we can the rest of the games, hopefully that will give us a shot at the playoffs."

Earlier, Quebec's Marie-France Larouche surprised Jones 10-8.

"It was a very tough day," Jones said. "Not a good day but it's just the way it happened and we know what we've got to do now. We've got to win and we're going to have to play better and work from the other side of the inch.

"It's definitely frustrating ... We just didn't play good enough."

Manitoba third Cathy Overton-Clapham shot an uncharacteristic 67% and pretended to take a mask off a curtain to hide behind before facing a media scrum.

"We just have to re-group and come out and play like we can (today)," she said. "We were struggling a bit in that game with draw weight and unfortunately, it caught up to us early in the game. We'll just have to get some rest, we're not out of this yet.

"It's frustrating obviously ... We're a better team than what we're showing, we've just got to come out and play well."

Make that, play a lot better.

"I know we need more wins," Overton-Clapham said. "We need to win most of the rest, or the rest of our games ... We know we're a good team and we know we have to pick it up a notch. But everyone's playing well so we've just got to get up there."

Manitoba plays Newfoundland and Saskatchewan today.

BITERS: The Assiniboine Memorial Curling Club will host a Brier reception for Kerry Burtnyk's team this Friday at 8 p.m. Everyone is welcome ... The Pembina C.C. will host a worlds sendoff for the Kaitlyn Lawes squad this Saturday at 7 p.m. Admission is $10 each.


Videos

Photos