Team Jones returns to its winning ways
It was only a matter of time… Winnipeg’s Jennifer Jones got off to a slow start to the season, and as a result spent the first 10 weeks further down the list on the Canadian Team Ranking System leaderboard than her team was used to. But after a few strong performances in recent weeks, and a win Monday at the DEKALB Superspiel in Morris, Man., the Jones squad finds itself right back near the top. Jones and teammates Kaitlyn Lawes, Jill Officer, and Dawn McEwen defeated Erika Brown of the U.S. 8-4 in the final, and cashed in a $10,000 paycheque, not to mention the 58.691 CTRS points that pushed them further up the leaderboard from fifth place to second. Now, Team Jones trails only Ottawa’s Rachel Homan, who has won nearly everything she’s played in this year. Interestingly, Brown’s U.S. team was officially named last Thursday to Team North America for the 2016 World Financial Group Continental Cup, presented by Boyd Gaming, Jan. 14-17 in Las Vegas, joining Team Jones on Team North America. Suddenly, the world seems normal again. Homan, Jones and Edmonton’s Val Sweeting are 1-2-3 on the CTRS, and will be looking to beat up on one another at next week’s Home Hardware Canada Cup of Curling, presented by Meridian Manufacturing, in Grande Prairie, Alta. Meanwhile, in the men’s event, Winnipeg’s Reid Carruthers continued his hot season with his own win in Morris. Carruthers, with Braeden Moskowy, Derek Samagalski and Colin Hodgson, earned 46.622 points (based on the event’s strength of field), and moved themselves into second place on the CTRS men’s list, and up to No. 4 on the World Curling Tour Order of Merit (which takes two seasons’ worth of results into account). Carruthers now only trails Brad Gushue (St. John’s) in the CTRS, but is hardly in striking distance for the top spot. Gushue has been white-hot all season, and didn’t slow down over the weekend. The Newfoundland foursome of Gushue, Mark Nichols, Brett Gallant and Geoff Walker won its sixth bonspiel of the season, taking home the crown at the Dave Jones Stanhope Simpson Mayflower Cashspiel in Halifax. Gushue defeated Switzerland’s Sven Michel in the final, and took home $7,000 and 33.965 points, padding his already huge lead in CTRS, and chipping away at Mike McEwen’s World No. 1 ranking. Winnipeg’s McEwen earned 19.981 points in the Morris event, which kept him about 45 ahead of Gushue on the WCT list. Gushue, Carruthers and McEwen will all be part of the men’s field at the Home Hardware Canada Cup as well, which means there will be no shortage of storylines as major points are up for grabs, both for men and women. Halifax’s Jill Brothers won the women’s event at the Mayflower, defeating Theresa Breen in the final. Brothers earned $3,400 and 21.982 points.