Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Jones classy to the end, but the feud isn't over

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CHARLOTTETOWN -- So you know how everyone -- the fans, the media, the two players -- expressed relief following their round-robin game last Wednesday that we could now all finally put that nasty little Jennifer Jones-Cathy Overton-Clapham feud to bed?

Yeah, think again.

Because with her loss to Saskatchewan in the Canadian final here Sunday, Jennifer Jones and her four-time Canadian champion juggernaut is suddenly just another club team trying to get out of Manitoba next year.

And that will surely put her on a collision course with Overton-Clapham all over again, this time at the provincial level next winter.

It is a monument to what a meritocracy Canadian curling is that with one missed shot -- her last one -- in the final here yesterday, Jones's team has gone from tying the Colleen Jones 2001-04 foursome as the most dominant team in Canadian curling history to just another four women pounding it out in the provincial playdowns.

Overton-Clapham saw her Manitoba team finish 4-7, but Overton-Clapham personally win the two things that counted most to her here last week.

First, she beat Jones in the only matchup between the two former teammates this winter, curling the game of her life to beat her old skip in that round-robin game.

And then she won the Marj Mitchell award, which might just be the most coveted trophy for women curlers after the championship trophy itself.

Voted on by the players themselves, it is awarded annually for outstanding sportsmanship. This year, however, it might also have been a referendum of sorts on what their fellow competitors thought about the way Jones handled the Overton-Clapham situation.

A couple of things do bear emphasizing, however. For one, it needs to be said that the young woman caught up in this squabble acquitted herself well over the last nine days -- and again last night.

Filling monstrous shoes in taking over Overton-Clapham's spot on the team, Canada third Kaitlyn Lawes was the best third in this event -- and the only player on Team Canada who outshot their counterpart last night, edging Saskatchewan's Kim Schneider 83-81.

And the other thing people need to know is that Jennifer Jones was, until the end here last night, as classy in defeat as she has always been in victory.

Jones stood in last night and politely answered every media question. And then, when she was finally done and her team had retreated to the safety of the dressing room as a sea of green swamped the ice, Jones stood in again, signing autographs along the rink boards and posing for pictures with fans, a smile on her face.

paul.wiecek@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 28, 2011 C4

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