Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Just the stats, ma'am

Who's the best? A look at Jones vs. Cathy O, by the numbers

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PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE -- Until only recently, the sport of curling has been terrible about keeping statistics.

Comprehensive numbers for Canadian championships date back only to the 1980s, while it's only in the last decade that anyone has begun keeping any meaningful statistics at all for the cash tour.

And what no one has ever really done is put together the career statistics of the best women's curlers in Manitoba.

Until now. Curl Manitoba's director of events Cole Skinner assembled the career playdowns records for the skips of the top five seeds at this year's Scotties Tournament of Hearts here at the PCU Centre.

And with that, there is finally some way to quantifiably measure a question that Manitoba curling fans have been arguing about over the last few years: Who's the better curler, Jennifer Jones or Cathy Overton-Clapham?

At first glance, the raw numbers favour Overton-Clapham. With her third win this week here Thursday night against East St. Paul's Kim Link, Overton-Clapham vaulted past Janet Arnott and Karen Fallis and into first place in career wins at the Manitoba women's curling championship with 89 (Arnott and Fallis had been tied for first at 88).

Jones, on the other hand, now has 62 career provincial wins. (A 63rd win slipped out of the back of the house Thursday afternoon when Jones was heavy on a last-rock draw in the 10th end and lost for the first time this week, 7-6 to Stonewall's Kelsey Boettcher).

But it bears noting that Jones has amassed her wins in six fewer appearances at the women's provincials than Overton-Clapham and has a slightly better winning percentage than her, too.

Nationally, it's a similar story, with Overton-Clapham holding the edge in overall wins at the Canadian women's championship but Jones boasting the better winning percentage in fewer appearances.

Internationally, Jones and Overton-Clapham represented Canada together at four different women's world championships -- Jones as skip and Overton-Clapham as third in 2005, '08, '09 and '10.

But Overton-Clapham also represented Canada at a fifth women's worlds -- going 9-2 in 1995 as third for Connie Laliberte in what was a silver-medal performance.

Neither woman is happy with their international performance, however, with only the lone world championship they won together in Vernon in 2008 to show for their many trips to the world stage.

As juniors, it's Jones who has the better raw numbers provincially, with more appearances, more wins and a better win percentage in Manitoba.

Jones also had more junior appearances and wins nationally, but Overton-Clapham had by far the better win percentage as a junior nationally and also had a worlds appearance that Jones didn't have, but only because of a scheduling quirk the year Jones won her Canadian junior title that denied her a worlds appearance.

In terms of actual championships, Overton-Clapham leads Jones provincially 7-4 and nationally 5-4.

But Overton-Clapham also leads in a category that is becoming increasingly relevant with each passing year -- age.

At 42, Overton-Clapham is five years older than Jones and admitted Thursday -- for the first time -- that the end of her career is now in sight.

"This is my last chance to make the Olympics," she said. "I can't see doing this for another four years after this."

Jones, by contrast, would appear to have at least one more Olympic cycle in front of her beyond the current one.

And it's for that reason -- and only that reason -- that provincial rival Chelsea Carey says she'd give the nod to Jones right now if she was putting together a team and could pick either women to join her.

"But only because of the age factor," Carey explained. "Cathy's still a phenomenal player. She's curling amazing. And she's the best touch player -- the freezes, the little taps, all of that. She's the best at that. She'll make those on you all day.

"Jennifer's the opposite. She can make those little ones too, but what she really loves is the in-offs and doubles and things like that. That's where she's made her name.

"But you'd be doing well curling with either of those two."

paul.wiecek@freepress.mb.ca

Jennifer Jones

 Appearances  Wins  Losses

PROVINCIAL

Junior 6  29  8

Women 11   62   21

NATIONAL

Junior 4  29  11

Women 8  80  28

WORLD

Women 4  39 14

Cathy Overton-Clapham

Appearances  Wins  Losses

 

PROVINCIAL

Junior 5  20  8

Women 17  89  32

Mixed 5  13  10

NATIONAL

Junior 2  19  3

Women 12 110  49

WORLD

Junior 1  9  2

Women 5  48  16

 

 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 27, 2012 C3

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