Jones makes tiebreaker

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:07 AM ET

The Comeback Queens faced their toughest challenge of the curling campaign last night.

Team Canada's Jennifer Jones headed into the late draw of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Victoria, B.C., needing a victory to stay alive. Otherwise, the reigning Canadian -- and world -- champion would suffer the indignity of being dethroned without even qualifying for the playoffs.

Jones ended the day by beating B.C.'s Marla Mallett 6-5, who had already secured top spot and a berth in the Page playoff one-versus-two game with a surprising 8-3 record.

Jones will now face a rematch with P.E.I.'s Rebecca-Jean MacPhee in a tiebreaker this afternoon.

Jones fell into a three-way tie for fourth place with Alberta and Saskatchewan at 6-4 after dropping an 8-7 extra-end decision to MacPhee on the morning draw.

"Sometimes it just doesn't go your way," Jones said before the B.C. game. "That seems to be the way it's going. We've got one more game. If we win it, I think we're in (the playoffs) so that's all we've got to do and then go from there."

Supported by third Cathy Overton-Clapham, second Jill Officer and Dawn Askin, Jones had lost four of her last five games after opening the round robin with a 5-0 mark.

As the Manitoba team at last year's Scotties, Jones pulled off a miraculous comeback, winning eight straight games to capture the Canadian crown. More comebacks were in store for her at the world championship where she eventually prevailed.

MacPhee followed up the victory over Jones with a 7-5 triumph over B.C. on the afternoon draw to pull into a second-place tie with Quebec at 7-4.

"That's a big day," said MacPhee. "We're just delighted. We knew we had to come out and play strong two games, and we feel we did."

Quebec's Marie-France Larouche defeated Saskatchewan's Stefanie Lawton 7-5 after battering Manitoba's Barb Spencer 9-4 in the morning. Spencer's loss means she will finish with the worst record a Manitoba team has ever recorded at the Hearts.

"We know that but there's nothing we can do about it," Spencer said from Victoria. "If people think we're not good curlers because we've had a bad week, they're going to think that. Sometimes, it's your fate and you can't do anything about that. It's not like we're playing awful. We're throwing as well as we did in Neepawa (women's provincials).

"We're disappointed in our record. We had high expectations of ourselves because we had been playing at a higher level than the last time we were here (2003)."

Spencer was 2-8 heading into last night's game against Saskatchewan. Manitoba's previous worst mark was 4-7.

"It's tough to get out of Manitoba and we feel we deserved to be here," said Spencer, who had admitted that she never caught on to the tricky ice conditions there. "We hope we still have the support of Manitobans. We've been trying to stay as positive as possible, but when you're losing, it's not much fun.

"All we can do now is hold our heads high and try to have some fun."


Videos

Photos