Jennifer Jones set a record for the most games won in the history of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts this year, but she won’t get a chance to add to her impressive total of six national women’s curling championship crowns.
Jones lost a stunning, heart-breaking 9-8 decision to Alberta’s Laura Walker on Sunday in a tie-breaker at the Markin MacPhail Arena in Calgary.
Walker trailed 4-1 at one point, 6-3 at another and scored three points with the hammer in the 10th end to win the game and move on to Sunday’s semifinal against Team Canada’s Kerri Einarson of Gimli, Man.
It was an abrupt end to a strong week by Jones and her Winnipeg teammates, who put up a 9-3 record in the round-robin, same as Alberta.
“I’m super disappointed on this one,” Jones said. “I felt like we played a really good game today and just had not a great last end and let one slip away. I felt like we were getting on a little bit of a roll and we wanted to play a little bit more.”
Jones, 46, now has 159 career wins at the Scotties, more than anyone else, but her pursuit of a record seventh national title will have to wait at least another year.
Jones is currently tied for the most championships with Colleen Jones of Nova Scotia.
“It’s obviously disappointing to have things end this way but a lot of great things came out of this week and I’m happy we had the opportunity to play.”
Jones has admitted a couple of times this week that she’s getting toward the end of her stories career, during which she’s won two world championships and an Olympic gold medal.
But she plans to still play this year — in the Canadian mixed doubles championship with husband Brent Laing and in two Grand Slam events scheduled for the Calgary bubble — and in the Olympic Curling Trials next fall.
“I’m not done that fast, no, no,” she said. “I just mean that I’m not 20 any more. It’s gonna come eventually, I just don’t know when yet.”
Einarson went on to beat Walker 9-3 in the semifinal, which set up a rematch of last year’s final against Homan. Einarson won that game in an extra end to become a Canadian women’s champion for the first time.
It marked the first time two teams met in the Scotties final in back-to-back years.
This year, Homan will have last rock in the first end, whereas Einarson had it last year.
“It does feel like déjà vu,” Einarson said. “The roles are reversed this time though.”
“I’m super excited. We’ve been in this position before so we know what to expect. Definitely a little quieter than last year but that’s OK. We’ll just have to keep talking out there and doing our thing and make those precise shots.”