Jennifer Jones showed once again on Sunday why she’s been one of the premiere female curlers in the world for years. The 44-year-old Winnipeg skip calmly executed a long runback double takeout to score three in the ninth end to beat Kerri Einarson’s Gimli, Man., team 8-5 to win her record fourth women’s title at the 2018 Home Hardware Canada Cup.
“We figured with the five-rock rule, if we don’t make that shot we’re probably only giving up a steal of one,” third Kaitlyn Lawes explained afterwards. “Chances of setting up for a deuce (in the 10th end) are pretty high so we thought it was worth the risk.”
For Jones, who has thrown a ton of difficult game-winning shots in her career, there was no question the risk was worth it.
“It was just the way the score was,” she said. “Trying to hold them to not get two in the last end is challenging, so we thought it was worth the risk. I like throwing that shot, it looked good out of my hand and I knew it was going to be close. I just wasn’t sure we would stick the shooter and it stuck around.”
Jones, Lawes, second Jocelyn Peterman and lead Dawn McEwen take home the Home Hardware Canada Cup trophy, $14,000 for winning the final, plus $6,000 for their four round-robin wins. As well, they earn a bye into the 2021 Road to the Roar Pre-Trials and they qualify for a World Curling Federation World Cup event during the 2019-20 season.
In her record-tying 10th appearance in the Home Hardware Canada Cup, Jones, who won the event in 2007, 2011 and 2016, had control through much of the game, thanks in part to the shot-making of Lawes, who made several key shots in the first half of the game to get Team Jones out of potentially difficult spots.
“She’s always real solid and consistent,” Jones said of her long-time teammate. “I count on her to make a lot of big shots and she usually does. She makes my life a lot easier for sure.”
It was a difficult day for Einarson, vice-skip Val Sweeting, second Shannon Birchard, lead Briane Meilleur and coach Patti Wuthrich, although they do take home $9,000 for finishing second plus $9,000 for their six round-robin victories.
Einarson, who finished first in the round robin and had a bye into the final, had a chance for two in the first end but missed on a double-takeout attempt and settled for one. Jones missed a chance for three in the second, also narrowly missing a double-takeout try, but got two.
The teams traded deuces in the fourth and fifth ends, Jones got one in sixth and Einarson scored singles in the seventh and eighth. But even as they tied the game 5-5, Team Einarson was feeling a little frustration.
“I want a couple of mine back,” admitted Sweeting. “But in the end when she makes a 20-foot runback double for three there’s not much you can do.
“I thought I was throwing them pretty close and wasn’t getting any results. Maybe we just weren’t as sharp on the ice. We did all we could, just one of those games. Everything was going right for them”