Plenty of teams taking the fifths

JIM BENDER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:44 AM ET

SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. -- It's all about the jewelry.

Seven of the 12 teams of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts have already inserted the alternates into games -- including both Manitoba-based teams -- and it is not because their teammates are playing poorly.

Only when the teams arrived here were they were told that the title sponsor had instituted a new policy of no longer awarding any jewelry to either the coaches or the alternates of the winning teams -- unless the alternates played. The fifths have to play at least one end in two different games to be eligible.

Team Canada fifth Jennifer Clarke-Rouire stepped in at lead for the first two ends of its game against the Yukon/NWT yesterday.

"She's been with us a long time and we wanted to give her the opportunity to play, so if things go our way by the end of the week, she will be awarded for the things she does for us," explained Canada second Jill Officer.

Clarke-Rouire, who shot 81% in those two ends, already received a diamond upgrade on her Scotties ring last year and would be in line for another if Jones wins her third straight title -- if eligible.

Kendra Georges, fifth for Manitoba's Jill Thurston, had already played one end this week, shooting 100%.

AMBER ALERT: Where there's smoke, there could be a Saskatchewan fire. By now, the fire that forced the Saskatchewan women's provincials from Kindersley to Eston has been well-chronicled. But that was just another one of fire-related mishaps that have followed Amber Holland's team around this year.

"Oh God," said Holland as she recounted. "Winnipeg Grand Slam, after one of our games, we got to our hotel, there's fire trucks, city buses because there was a chemical spill. Fortunately, they didn't let us in the hotel at that time.

"Edmonton at the (Olympic) trials, after the opening banquet, our floor was the only floor that was evacuated because of a fire alarm and we had to go down to the hotel lobby with our pyjamas. Then the fire in Kindersley. It has been an interesting year for us. Anything can happen to us, it doesn't even faze us any more. We're so used to everything."

The rest of the field should be warned now. The Saskatchewan contingent is staying in the same hotel.

SHOT OF WEEK?: Although Holland downed Ontario 7-6 in the morning, Ontario skip Krista McCarville executed what will be a contender for Shot of the Week in the ninth end. Facing three Saskatchewan counters, McCarville made a long raise-tap-back for one.

"It was basically, I make it or we shake hands," McCarville said.


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