By Emanuel Sequeira, The Canadian Press
PENTICTON, B.C. – Manitoba’s Jennifer Jones has won the Scotties Tournament of Hearts for the sixth time in her career, tying her with Colleen Jones of Nova Scotia for the all-time record.
Jones and her Manitoba rink beat Wild Card Kerri Einarson 8-6 on Sunday in the title draw at the Canadian women’s curling championship at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
“It means a lot,” Jones said about matching the record. “We’ve had a lot of disappointment over the last few weeks. You never know when it’s going to be our last year as a team. It feels great.”
The victory was sealed on Einarson’s last rock in the 10th end when she was unable to get it to slide to the button after hitting another rock. Jones didn’t need to throw her last rock.
Jones, the Olympic champion from the Sochi 2014 Games, won her first national title in 2005 and says it’s a thrill to be compared to Nova Scotia’s Jones, who last won a Scotties in 2004.
“Colleen Jones is one of the legends. We’re right up there now,” said Jones, whose team included third Shannon Birchard, second Jill Officer and lead Dawn McEwen. “It’s so humbling, it’s just mind-boggling to me, to be honest.”
The 23-year-old Birchard made her first Scotties appearance in place of Kaitlyn Lawes, who is representing Canada at the Winter Olympics in mixed doubles.
“It’s pretty unbelievable. I don’t even have words right now, I’m speechless,” said Birchard. “I’m so overjoyed and so happy that they chose me to come along. This has been a dream of mine for a really long time.”
Jones said Einarson and her foursome played a great game and that it was similar to their Page 1-2 playoff draw a night earlier that Jones won to head straight to the championship draw.
Einarson was emotional from the loss.
“We were in control and I knew that draw I missed for three was going to bite me in the butt, and it did, which was unfortunate,” said Einarson, supported by teammates third Selena Kaatz, second Liz Fyfe and lead Kristin MacCuish.
Throughout the match, the crowd of 3,840 had Team Wild Card’s back.
Einarson said it was pretty amazing to have that support.
“When they are just cheering for us, it gave us so much more energy to keep going,” she said. “That’s truly awesome. I really appreciate the fan support. It gives you goosebumps every time they cheer for you.”
Jones, Officer, McEwen and regular third Lawes will represent Canada at the 2018 world women’s curling championship in North Bay, Ont., in March 17. Birchard is expected to act as the team’s alternate player.
Einarson defeated Nova Scotia’s Mary-Anne Arsenault 12-9 in Sunday morning’s semifinal to book her spot in the late afternoon title match against Jones. She made it into the Scotties by beating Chelsea Carey’s Calgary rink in the play-in game on Day 1 of the tournament.
Team Wild Card led the final 4-2 after five ends.