WINNIPEG'S Jennifer Jones made quick work of Edmonton's Valerie Sweeting at Fort Rouge Curling Club Saturday night, stealing the first four ends to win 8-0 and advance her team to Monday's playoff round of the $60,000 Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Women's Curling Classic.
Jones authored steals of 3, 2, 1 and 2 in succession before Sweeting conceded after just four ends.
It was the fourth straight victory for Jones this weekend and means her foursome gets the day off today and will be one of the eight teams who will compete in the quarter-finals Monday morning.
In the other A-side qualifier Saturday evening, Russia's Anna Sidorova cracked a three-ender in the fourth end and stole two more in the seventh end en route to a 7-2 victory over 2011 Canadian women's champion Amber Holland of Saskatchewan.
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Michelle Montford's young Winnipeg foursome had a memorable day at Fort Rouge Saturday.
Montford opened her day with a 7-2 thrashing of Chelsea Carey's highly-ranked team on the noon draw and then proved it was no fluke Saturday night, scoring three-enders in the fourth and sixth ends en route to a 9-7 win over 2009 women's world champion Bingyu Wang of China.
Playing with a newly configured team this winter -- third Lisa DeRiviere, second Sara Van Welleghem and lead Sarah Neufeld -- Montford has neither the corporate support of Carey's squad or the national team funding that Wang enjoys.
As a result, the team is playing a modest bonspiel schedule this fall and winter of mostly local events and making the most of their rare opportunities to play elite competition.
"It really helps to build our confidence moving forward when we can beat teams like that," Montford said after the win over Carey. "We're a new team and we've actually been doing pretty well this year. So the more we win, the better we'll feel in terms of our confidence level."
The team won one of two previous events they played in this year -- taking top prize at a bonspiel in St. Paul earlier this month.
They'll get yet another chance this morning to play elite competition -- Montford plays Holland at 9 a.m., with the winner advancing to a B-side qualifying game.
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In contrast to Montford, Carey has been having a weekend to forget at Fort Rouge.
The Carey foursome are one of just two Manitoba women's teams -- and just six teams overall -- to already have a coveted berth into December's Canadian curling trials at the MTS Centre.
But the highly-ranked foursome has struggled this weekend, winning just once in three games heading into today and leaving them needing to run the table the rest of the weekend if they're going to win a rare event on home ice.
Carey third Kristy McDonald said a letdown in her team's performance at this time of year is actually typical of the foursome.
"If you look at the last couple years for us, we usually start pretty well. Then this month is usually kind of murky. And then November has been really good to us and we really start picking up steam heading into December."
Carey plays a C-side game at 12:30 p.m. today against the loser of a late game Saturday night between local rinks Kim Link and Colleen Kilgallen. Carey will need to win three games in succession today to capture a C-side berth and advance to Monday's playoff round.
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