What’s in Jennifer Jones’s wallet now? Another berth in the Canadian Olympic curling trials leading to the Sochi Games, that’s what!
Jones absolutely demolished a much less experienced Manitoba foe in Chelsea Carey on Sunday morning in the women’s championship final of the Capital One Canada Cup at the Cranbrook RecPlex.
The match ended 9-4 in favour of Jones and her team of Kaitlyn Lawes, Joelle Sabourin and Dawn Askin but the issue had been decided long before handshakes after eight ends.
The win earned the Jones team $26,000, plus the Tim Hortons Trials berth, plus entries to next year’s Canada Cup at Moose Jaw and the 2013 Continental Cup at Penticton, B.C.
“We were never really looking that far ahead,” said the 37-year-old Jones, a four-time national champion who scored at 94 per cent on her skip rocks in the lopsided match. “But it is nice; this way, you don’t really have to go all out (for the next two seasons). You can control your schedule and pick the events you want to play in, which is kind of nice. We know we’re there, we won’t have to keep looking at the points standings to see how we rank, and hopefully we’ll get better until then.”
Jones and her team — second Jill Officer, who is scheduled to give birth any day now, will return in the New Year — also gained the first berth in the 2009 Trials at Edmonton. That early qualification did not prove to be a lucky number, but Jones isn’t prone to superstition.
Second Joelle Sabourin pointed out her experience, playing this fall with the team as a substitute: “I learned about intensity, never giving up, being ready every time, practising hard, being rested.”
These are the important aspects of a Jennifer Jones team regimen, said Sabourin, who hadn’t planned to play competitively this season and will take the remainder off to deal with family and planned travel.
Jones stole her way to a 2-0 lead by the second end of the final, then hit for the killer three points and a 5-1 lead in the fourth end to more or less decide the issue.
Carey’s third Kristy McDonald made a telling mistake there, overthrowing a rock on a takeout shot which rolled out leaving Carey in the glue, looking at three enemy stones spread out across the rings.
“That was big,” agreed the 27-year-old Carey later. “We were already in a little bit of trouble but if we could have forced them there or stolen one it would have been OK. That last rock of Kristy’s was a little big, rolled out and the end goes totally differently.”
Jones stole another points in the fifth, banged another trio on the board in the seventh and the argument was more than won.
“You know, it was just fun to go out there and curl well in a big game,” said Jones.
“They were just a little bit off early and we got the lead, but they’re a great team and I’m sure they’ll bounce back. But I thought we came out and played well from the first end on, and everybody made my job easy. It was a fun game to play.”
Jones won two playoff games on the back of a 3-3 qualifying record while Carey was losing her second game in seven starts after gaining a direct berth in the final by finishing atop the round-robin preliminaries.
“I thought we had a pretty outstanding round robin,” said Jones, in spite of the 3-3 record there. “We had just one bad game, really. Otherwise, we missed a couple of shots here and there.”
It was a learning experience for Carey and her team of McDonald, Kristen Foster and Lindsay Titheridge.
“We could call it a gong show,” snapped Carey following the final. “We just didn’t make anything. First end we slide a little too far. Almost made a double in three but didn’t. And after that it just sort of unravelled. But we were out-positioned early. We didn’t get rocks in a lot of good spots.
“That happens. But you don’t want it to happen on national TV. But what can you do? It was one of those games. We just couldn’t get anything going for us.”
It was the first time in a nationally-televised match for the unsung Carey team, a $16,000 winner.
“No, we’d never been on national TV,” admitted the Winnipeg-based skip. “Nice national TV debut, eh? You get your butt handed to you.
“It is what it is. We’ll learn from it and go from there. But, obviously, that’s not what we wanted to do. We wanted to at least make a game of it.
“It’s been a great week for us. It’s hard to feel that right now. When you lose a close game in the final, fine, it’s been a great week. After that performance it’s not a whole lot of fun. But, yeah, we got a whole lot out of it. Eventually, I’m sure I’ll feel good about that.”
The Carey team lost last year’s Manitoba provincial final to Cathy Overton-Clapham and, said the skip, “learned a lot from that defeat”.
“The only way to learn is to play in these finals and play on national TV,” Carey mused.
“It was an experience for us today. Not a good one. We just have to build on it and be better. Just like last year’s provincial loss.”