Former world champs setting Scotties pace

A pair of world champions moved to the front of the pack at the Scotties Tournament Of Hearts Sunday morning. Defending Canadian champion Jennifer Jones directed a wild 12-1 thrashing of Kerry Galusha’s Territories entry from Yellowknife while two-time Scotties winner Kelly Scott of Kelowna rebounded from off the pace to steal three in the ninth end which led to a 6-4 victory over Manitoba’s Cathy Overton-Clapham. Jones and Scott were 2-and-0 heading into games later today. Jones faced Saskatchewan’s Amber Holland (1-0) at 2:30 p.m. AT while Scott went against Alberta’s Shannon Kleibrink (1-0).

Kelly Scott at the 2011 Scotties Tournament of Hearts(Photo by: Andrew Klaver)

Jones stole five points in three ends and led the Polars 6-0 after four, then hammered a killing five on the scoreboard in the sixth end. Scott was in much tougher, trailing Manitoba until matters turned around in the ninth end. Thee B.C. skip, world champ in 2007, executed a hit-and-roll behind cover to sit two and received some assistance when a Manitoba miscue left three enemy stones counting. Overton-Clapham, with her last stone, attempted a quiet raise to the four-foot but her draw hung and barely rubbed the target stone. Manitoba had several other opportunities to score the tying points in the last end but continually missed perfect freeze attempts. Scott executed a pair of open takeouts to clinch the decision. “The complexion of that end and that game changed rather quickly,” admitted Scott. “You never expect to get a break like that when somebody like Cathy has the last brick. I think out of her hand they were happy with it but it didn’t finish up. “Quiet shots really are sensitive. Some will warp and some will hold. You’ve got to be in the range with the weight. Sometimes you know halfway down you have the button. Not here. Some work, some don’t. I don’t know whether that’s releases, or rocks or precise weight but we’ll have to figure that out.” Overton-Clapham’s squad (1-and-2) takes the afternoon off before tackling New Brunswick’s Andrea Kelly (1-and-2) tonight. “We made a couple of wrong calls and I wasn’t controlling the house as I should have,” said Overton-Clapham. “You can’t give up a steal of three in the ninth end here. “We had lots of opportunities that whole game and we put our rocks in the wrong spots. It’s disappointing because I thought we really controlled the game.’’ Overton-Clapham reasoned she knew “we had a tough schedule coming in . . . three games back-to-back-to-back. We prepared ourselves for it . . . we just have to come out and play strong.” In other morning tilts, Quebec’s Marie-France Larouche and Newfoundland’s Stacie Devereaux each posted initial victories — Quebec 10-5 over Nova Scotia’s Heather Smith-Dacey of Halifax and Devereaux 10-4 over New Brunswick’s Kelly. “It is a good start for us,” said Larouche. “We would have liked to win that first one (Saturday night) but she (Jennifer Jones) throws her last rock and hits the pin so that’s OK, we knew we played well and this time we played great. “I think we have a strong team, we practise a lot. We are all good friends. We have some kind of new energy.” Larouche hasn’t missed the playoffs in four previous Scotties. “I know that but we are not a favourite and that is good,” she said. “I know we are able to make the playoffs and I know how to do it. Knowing that, there’s no pressure on me.” Devereaux was elated at her team’s improvement, “We had our draw weight early today and we were making a few more shots,” she said. “And when we missed, we missed the right way instead of the wrong way. “We’re getting used to the ice and I think we’re gaining momentum. I think we had a bit of the jitters the first game, this is a really big event, but all the jitters are gone now.” In this afternoon’s draw (2:30 p.m. AT), Newfoundland plays Ontario’s Rachel Homan (1-0) while Quebec goes against home favourite Suzanne Birt (1-0) of Charlottetown.