Registered: Jan 2009
Location: Hovel of Fame
The young Manitoba skip certainly punched her card as another "Team to Watch" by delivering the scalp of Jennifer Jones at the Colonial event in Saskatoon this weekend.
Not only did Birchard subdue Jones in the event final - she also pushed her down in an earlier event meeting.
The first win was a low-scoring affair (for a Jones game anyways) - 4-2 for Birchard - in the event final Birchard exploded for a late 4-spot to ruin Jones 8-6. Two big wins over a Top 4 Canadian team - and a Top 8 world team is a nice result.
Jones, on the other hand doesn't want to peak early - but she was a surprise finalist, subduing the hottest team so far this year, Anna Hasselborg in their semi-final confrontation. If Birchard continues her rapid progression she'll be a force to reckon with in the pre-trials event.
Jones, obviously is Jones. She's the most mercurial player in the women's game but of recent she appears one perplexed ice general. Her big game hunter shots are getting further and further apart and her regular routine shooting is spotty (at best) and brutal (at worst).
I'm still convinced the Jones team is #2 in Canada overall - but without a consistent skip and also one who has continued problems with strategy, rock-positioning & line calls they are rapidly heading to also-ran status at Olympic trials.
And there's no easy answers. This is obviously JJ's last kick at the cat - and she's going in with only 3 legs; having to re-work her strategy and line-calling ability at this stage of the game might be an impossible ask. But a necessary one - if she wants to taste Olympic wine again!
I'm one of the good guys now!
Report this post to a moderator | IP: Logged