Jones Ready for Semi-Finals


Despite picking up a loss to provincial rivals Team Fleury in Friday afternoon's Draw 17, Jennifer Jones (Picture: Curling Canada) is through to the semi-finals at the 2021 Tim Hortons curling Trials.

By: Dylan Chenier

Jones, with third Kaitlyn Laws, second Jocelyn Peterman, and lead Dawn McEwen, qualified for the semis after finishing the round-robin with a 6-2, their only other loss coming in Draw 9 to Kerri Einarson.

Throughout the round-robin, Jones outscored her opponents 61-48. At skip, Jones ranked a disappointing seventh place, curling just 75%. As a team, Jones' rink curled 82%, good enough for sixth place in the rankings. At the top, Team Fleury curled a cumulative 84%, putting up a +5 record on the week.

The 2014 Olympic gold medalist is in a good position to make a return appearance a the Winter Games. At 47 years old, Jones would become the oldest Canadian female Olympic skip, after a then-43-year-old Cheryl Bernard lead her squad to bronze at the 2010 Games in Vancouver. Jones also has a chance to become the first female skip to curl in multiple Olympics, Kevin Martin is the only other Canadian skip to make repeat Olympics appearances.

"It's a tough event and I'm really proud of the girls. We hung in there, wasn't our best game today but I always say it's good because usually we come back after not our best game and play great so it's not a bad way to end the round-robin actually," Jones said.

Even though Jones is already through to Saturday night's semi-finals, her opponent is yet to be decided. After three rinks ended the round-robin tied for third at 4-4, a series of tiebreakers will need to be played to determine the final playoff team.

On Saturday morning, Manitoba's Kerri Einarson will take on Casey Scheidegger's Alberta rink in the first tiebreaker, the winner of that game then heads straight to an afternoon meeting with Northern Ontario's Krista McCarville in the second tiebreaker, with the winner of that game advancing to take on Jones.

While Jones will need a victory in the semis in order to make it to Sunday's championship final, the additional gameplay may prove to be a benefit over Fleury, who has all of Saturday off.

"I don't know if it's an advantage. I always say it's a benefit to be on the ice if you can, if you know you're going to win, it's not a bad thing. I always think it's great to play in the semi-finals so we're super excited to play in that game and hopefully, we'll come out and shoot the lights out, just have a tonne of fun and see what happens."

In her four previous Trials appearances, Jones has only played in one semi-final, a 6-3 loss to Rachel Homan at the 2017 Trials in Ottawa. When Jones won the event in 2013, her rink went 6-1 in the round-robin and earned an automatic birth in the finals.

Despite finishing the round-robin with a loss, Jones believes the team is in a good spot heading into the playoffs.

"It's a tough event and I'm really proud of the girls. We hung in there, wasn't our best game today but I always say it's good because usually we come back after not our best game and play great so it's not a bad way to end the round-robin actually."

Saturday for the women at the 2021 Tim Hortons Curling Trials begins with a tiebreaker between Kerri Einarsson and Casey Scheidegger at 9:00 AM CT. At 2:00 PM, Krista McCarville's rink faces the winner of the first tiebreaker. The winner of the second tiebreaker then advances to face Jones ins the Semi-Finals at 7:00 PM.

SCORES and BRACKETS at www.curlingzone.com

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