Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Eyebrows raised after 'interesting' measurement

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PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE -- Darcy Robertson is considered one of the classier ladies in the Manitoba women's game.

And it's precisely because she is generally well-regarded that there were more than a few eyebrows raised here at the Manitoba Scotties Tournament of Hearts on Wednesday when Robertson's squad -- already leading Lori Forbes of The Pas 13-0 -- asked for a measure to determine a 14th point instead of just kicking their rock to the boards.

The measure, like everything else in her game against Forbes, went Robertson's way and Forbes quickly proffered a handshake, the victim of a 14-0 shellacking in five ends.

Now, there are all kinds of legitimate questions to be asked about a provincials qualifying system that allows entry to a team like Forbes, who went on later in the day to also lose 9-1 to Jill Thurston and who are -- by the skip's own admission -- in over their heads.

But the much more immediate question on Wednesday was for Robertson -- Why? Why would you ever measure for a 14-point lead?

"I know it didn't look good," Robertson replied, "and we certainly didn't want to make them look bad. We just always measure, no matter what. It's a team policy and it's just kind of our routine."

Forbes chose her words carefully, when asked about the measure.

"I thought that was interesting," Forbes said. "A lot of people have asked me about that. And I've said, 'The measure was there. Interesting.' "

Forbes described her team as club curlers and said they had all kinds of troubles on Day 1 adjusting to much more challenging arena ice conditions. "It was a bit of a disaster, but that's OK. We'll move forward," said Forbes. "Clearly these curlers are way beyond where we are. But we're happy to have the opportunity."

-- -- --

Jennifer Jones second Jill Officer, who was playing her first games of the 2011-12 curling season here on Wednesday after taking the winter off to have a baby, said she felt surprisingly well after just two weeks of practise.

"I'm a little sore, but I'd be sore even if I hadn't just had a baby," Officer said. "It all actually felt better than I'd expected."

The Jones team won both their games on opening day -- 7-4 over Brandon's Kelsey Russill and 8-3 over Terry Ursel of Plumas -- and the skip agreed with her second's assessment.

"Jill played great," said Jones. "It felt like she'd never not been on the ice... She's throwing the rock great, she's sweeping great and she's feeling great."

-- -- --

Jones is joined at 2-0 in her round-robin pool heading into this morning by 2010 Manitoba women's champion Jill Thurston and three-time Manitoba women's champion Barb Spencer.

Thurston -- who defeated Stonewall's Kelsey Boettcher 7-5 and Lori Forbes 9-1 -- was upbeat about her team's opening day. "We're throwing the rock pretty well. We struggled all season, but we're coming together as a team at the right time, I think."

Spencer was also dominant in her two wins, thumping Terry Ursel 9-3 and Kelsey Russill 8-3.

paul.wiecek@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 26, 2012 C3

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