Winnipeg’s Jennifer Jones assured her Canadian team of a berth in the Page One-Two playoff match by defeating Russia 7-4 Thursday morning at the Ford World women’s curling championship, presented by Monsanto.
Jones and her team now prepare for the final round-robin match at 7:30 p.m. CT against the Scottish team (8-1) that was idle for the morning but plays its penultimate preliminary tussle at 1:30 p.m. today against the fading Russians (4-6).
“We’ve played Scotland a lot, probably as much as 10 times over the last few years,” said Jones. “Of course, they don’t have Jackie (Lockhart) on the team so it is a little different. But they make a lot of shots.”
The former world champion Lockhart, of course, played third for skip Eve Muirhead at the Olympics, then suffered an injury during the subsequent Scottish championship which shelved her for the Ford Worlds.
This is the second straight championship in which Jones has qualified for the Page One-Two playoff that leads directly to Sunday’s championship final. At the Canadian championship prior to the Olympics, Jones defeated Charlottetown’s Kathy O’Rourke in the same playoff, then again defeated O’Rourke in the final.
“It’s exciting looking at this twice in one year,” said the Canadian skip who, in recent years, has taken a more circuitous route to the final via tiebreakers and other playoffs. “I don’t know what’s going on. We played well, pretty well controlled our game and bounced back from a loss.”
The team’s lone defeat of the week transpired Wednesday when Germany’s Andrea Schoepp executed a last-rock takeout in an extra end for an 8-7 decision.
Cissi Ostlund of Karlstad registered Sweden’s fourth straight win — 9-5 over Erika Brown of the U.S. — and assured the Blue and Yellow (7-3) of post-preliminary play.
Elsewhere, Switzerland (3-7) dumped rookie Latvia (1-9) 9-6 and Japan (2-8) nudged Norway (3-7) 6-5 in an extra panel.
Sweden plays defending champion China during the final draw but Ostlund says she looks forward to getting another crack at Canada. Sweden jockeyed out in front by three points at the half in that opening tussle last Saturday before succumbing to nerves and Canadian shotmaking.
“I think it was good for us to play Canada in the first game of our first world championship,” sad Ostlund. “It helped us a lot with our confidence. Yes, I would really like to play them again. If we keep playing like we are, we would have a better game against them.”
The final test with China may or may not eliminate the need for Friday tiebreakers.
“That doesn’t matter,” said Ostlund. “We’re happy to play a lot of games. It’s a lot of fun going out there to play in front of all these people.”
The defeat left the Yanks (6-4) in a precarious position regarding playoffs with an afternoon fracas against the Chinese (5-4).In other afternoon games, Germany (6-3) play Latvia and Denmark (4-5) tackles Japan.