One-Two playoff

It was the Champ and The Kid on Friday night at the Essar Centre and the champ prevailed. Defending champion Jennifer Jones of Winnipeg moved to within one victory of a three-peat at the Scotties Tournament Of Hearts by defeating Kathy O’Rourke’s Prince Edward Islanders 8-5 in the Page One-Two playoff battle. The win avenged a Wednesday night loss handed Jones and her team of Cathy Overton-Clapham, Jill Officer and Dawn Askin by the Island team that features 21-year-olds Erin Carmody and Geri-Lynn Ramsay delivering the fourth and third stones respectively. This time, last-rocker Carmody failed to have the necessary touch. She was scored at 60 per cent and missed last shots that cost the P.E.I. team four points in three ends. Jones advanced to Sunday’s championship final for the third straight year and the fifth time in the last six Scotties renewals. That showdown goes at 2:30 p.m. ET on Sunday. The challenger will be one of O’Rourke, who dropped to Saturday’s semi-final with the loss, former champion Kelly Scott of Kelowna or Ontario champion Krista McCarville of Thunder Bay. McCarville and Scott square off in the sudden-death Page Three-Four playoff at 1 p.m. ET Saturday with the winner advancing to the semi. “It feels good to be in the final,” said Jones. “It’s exciting. You win one and you never know if you’re going to get back. Now we’ve won three and having a chance at four is quite something.” Jones said she felt her team could be sharper. “But I thought we made a lot of shots and I thought we controlled the game. I hope we can carry that into Sunday.” There was some argument to suggest the Islanders gave the game away on last-rock miscues. Carmody had an opportunity to derrick the Islanders in front by three points in the second end with an open hit but threw the out-turn inside and wrecked on a guard that wasn’t providing cover for the target. P.E.I. settled for a single. In the third end, Carmody wrecked on a guard leaving Jones a draw for a deuce. Carmody saved the Islanders from tumbling into an early grave in the fourth when she drew the four-foot looking at five Team Canada counters. But in the fifth, Carmody again wrecked with her last stone leaving Jones a four-foot draw with backing for another deuce. The Islanders missed another opportunity for three in the sixth end when Carmody rolled out on a takeout. It left P.E.I. with two and a squared account. Jones came right back in the seventh with another deuce and Carmody was a hair heavy on a four-foot draw in the eighth, yielding a stolen single. The Islanders then were forced to settle for a single in the ninth leaving Jones with a two-spot and the hammer. She was left with an easy double to wrap it up in the final exchange. “We felt those misses,” admitted skip O’Rourke, who throws second rocks, afterward. “Erin was doing the best she could. If we’d had the three in the second end it would have been a whole different game. But we have to put that behind us. I thought we still created a lot of scoring opportunities which goes to show us we can compete out here and it wasn’t just a fluke we were in this game.” Still, there were sufficient scoring opportunities to give the Islanders the game. “Erin struggled on a couple of out-turns on which she didn’t quite get out to me,” said O’Rourke. “For sure, if she’d have cracked the one in the second end she would have had a much better feel for the rest of the game. “It is a game of confidence. Sometimes when you miss an easy one like that it isn’t easy to get your head back in it.” Jones doubted the suggestion that experience was a major factor in the match. “I don’t think experience hurts,” she said. “But I don’t think you need experience, either. You have to win your first one at some point. It helps, though, when it comes to controlling the nerves.” Jones noted one change ahead for her team. “The way we usually win is with out choice of rocks, no hammer, nothing,” she said. “It will be a pleasant change on Sunday.” O’Rourke was philosophical in defeat. “I told the girls, we had so much fun out here tonight we’re going to come back tomorrow and hopefully again on Sunday.”