KILLARNEY — After a slew of opening-day upsets, the top teams came out swinging on Day 2 of the 2018 Manitoba women's curling championship.
Jennifer Jones, Shannon Birchard and Briane Meilleur all won their Thursday-morning matches to rise to 2-1 on the week. So did Joelle Brown, the seasoned Charleswood Curling Club skip, who had toppled Jones on Wednesday.
Jones stumbled against Burntwood's Jennifer Briscoe, giving up a sixth-end steal of three, but that was just payback for the three she'd stolen from Briscoe in the second end. Other than that, she rolled to an 11-6 win.
Elsewhere in the morning, Meilleur handled Dauphin's Lisa Hale-Menard 9-2 in six ends; fourth-seed Birchard dispatched Carberry's Alyssa Calvert 9-3 and Spencer beat promising Altona skip Mackenzie Zacharias 7-5.
Over in the other round-robin pool, the playoff favourites similarly cruised through: 2016 Manitoba champ Kerri Einarson, 2017 finalist and perennial contender Darcy Robertson and veteran Barb Spencer all rose to 3-0.
There were some lopsided scores in the first couple of draws. Robertson called an 8-1 win over Brandon's Cheryl Reed, and Einarson made quick work of 21-year-old Rebecca Lamb — the teams shook at 10-1 after just five ends.
Lamb, making her first women's provincials appearance, was surprised by her opening-day success, beating Clark-Rouire in a tenacious performance. But she could not generate much against Einarson Thursday afternoon.
Rounding out that group, Miami's Jennifer Clark-Rouire — a regular Team Jones fifth — also snagged a win, going 8-3 over Brandon's Tiffany McLean. That improved Clark-Rouire's record to 2-1 on the week; McLean slipped to 0-3.
There are two more draws slated Thursday. The pool that includes Jones, Birchard and Meilleur are on the ice again at 4 p.m., while the round-robin pool led by Einarson and Robertson play the evening draw at 7:30.
The 2018 Manitoba Scotties Tournament of Hearts continues through the weekend, with playoffs set to start Saturday night. The 8:30 a.m. semifinal and 2:30 p.m. final on Sunday will be broadcast live on Sportsnet.