Sisters have act together

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:13 AM ET

Beware of the Sister Act at the Scotties.

Barb Spencer will skip one of two Manitoba teams competing at this year's Scotties Tournament of Hearts that starts in Victoria tomorrow.

Spencer won the Manitoba title after reuniting with her older sister, Darcy Robertson, and will be overshadowed by fellow Manitoban Jennifer Jones, who will wear Team Canada colours.

"They can surprise some people," warned Team Canada second Jill Officer. "They're a good team and when Barb caught fire, she caught fire. She's a great curler and she's been there. She's got the experience.

"They're going to come out firing and they're going to beat teams that aren't expecting to have a tough game against them."

Spencer and Robertson played in the 2003 Hearts together but had split up for a few years before getting back together this season. They are determined to improve on their 4-7 record.

"(Going in 2003) helps a lot because we know what we needed to do back then and we weren't prepared as much," Robertson said recently. "After the fact, we were thinking, 'Oh wow, we weren't really ready for it then.' It was a great experience. Being back there another time will really have us prepared because we know what we have to do this time."

Spencer has admitted to being nervous skipping for the first time the last time.

"We weren't happy with our record (2003) but I feel that we are playing better this year," said Spencer, also supported by second Brette Richards and Barb Enright. "We're a better team and we don't want to go to nationals unless we have a chance to win it ... I feel we're playing better and we've developed our own game to a higher level."

Spencer, who toured more extensively this season, will not be intimidated by those teams so much higher in both the CTRS points and money standings.

"We've played against (Alberta's Cheryl) Bernard and some of the other teams that will be at the Scotties and we feel that we can hold our own against them," Spencer said. "We're confident that, if we go there and we play our game, we'll do well and have a really good chance."

In fact, Robertson believes the foursome can win the whole shebang.

"Oh definitely," she affirmed. "With our team this year, all of them are top curlers ... You cannot go in there these days with one member of your team being weaker. So yeah, we've got the package, we just need to put it all together."

Spencer will play Jones in a round-robin game Sunday night.

"It's great that we've got two Manitoba teams there that people can cheer for," Officer said. "That's a big asset to Manitoba and I hope that people see it that way. But we're competing against them and they're competing against us, and they'll probably approach us the same way they'll approach every other game there."

jim.bender@sunmedia.ca


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