KINGSTON, ONT. -- Manitoba’s Jennifer Jones faced her toughest test so far here at the Canadian women’s curling championship on Wednesday afternoon -- and she passed with flying colours.
Facing an opponent in defending champion Heather Nedohin who wanted nothing to do with putting rocks into play early on, the always aggressive Jones waited patiently for her opportunity and then made no mistake, cracking a deuce in the fourth end and then stealing another in the fifth end en route to an 8-5 victory over the team that eliminated her from the Scotties in last year’s semifinal.
With the victory, Jones and the rest of her Manitoba foursome -- third Kaitlyn Lawes, second Jill Officer and lead Dawn Askin -- improve to 7-0, while Nedohin falls back to 6-1.
Jones is now done for the day, but returns to the ice Thursday morning in the most anticipated round-robin game of the week -- versus Ontario’s Rachel Homan.
Homan is also 7-0 after an 8-2 victory Wednesday afternoon over Saskatchewan, setting up a head-to-head clash tomorrow between the last two undefeated teams remaining in the field.
The last time a team at the Scotties went a perfect 11-0 in the round-robin was in 1985, when BC’s Linda Moore did it.
Jones was asked if the prospect of making a little curling history this week added even more meaning to her matchup versus Homan tomorrow.
"Not really, but it would be great to go through undefeated obviously," said Jones. "It means you’re playing well and getting on a bit of a roll, but a lot of times a loss in the round-robin isn’t a bad thing too.
"But hopefully we go out and play well -- that’s all I want to do is keep getting better."
Unlike Nedohin -- who appeared to be playing scared against Jones on Wednesday -- the 23-year-old Homan, who loves the aggressive game as much as Jones does, promises she will be bringing it against Manitoba. "We don’t change our game depending on who we play. We’re going to treat them just like any other team and keep with our strategy. We like rocks in play, we like making big shots and we can play defensive as well."
Nedohin was asked after the loss to Manitoba why she chose to play so defensively early, ripping guards instead of choosing to go around and just generally doing her utmost to keep the sheet clean. "I didn’t think we were overly conservative," Nedohin protested. "I think that’s a team that makes great shots and you have to watch it. If they like to play with a bunch of rocks, I kind of like to tone it down for them a little."