It’s a little bit like walking into a lion’s den with a blindfold on.
The TraceyJones rink is leaving for Port Alberni Sunday to compete in the provincial Scott Tournament of Hearts, and out of the nine rinks they’ll be facing during the week of competition they haven’t played a single one before.
“We know of individual people but as far as teams we don’t know,” says lead Bridget Tansem. “We haven’t played any of the teams that will be there.”
Individual people the likes of Jody Sutton, twin sister to Julie Skinner, or KellyScott (nee McKenzie) the former world junior champion and former BC champion Lisa Stevenson. Of the Jones rink, only third Cheryle Wood has been to a provincial tournament at the ladies level before. She also has national experience as fifth for PG’s Diane Dalio rink in the 1992 Scott.
Having no idea what to expect when they walk into the Port Alberni Curling Club, the five curlers say they don’t really have much in the way of strategy, other than to play their best.
Jones and co. earned the provincial berth two weekends ago in Kamloops in a near-perfect district playdown triumph. The team won all but one of their five matches, sweeping aside the MacInnes rink that had taken the district 10 berth last season.
The team’s hoping now to hold onto that momentum and carry it forward into the provincial tournament, although the team’s goal for the season – to make provincials – has already been met.
“We’ve been practicing every day since we’ve gotten back. I guess we’re just keeping sharp and I hope we can peak while we’re there,” says Jones. “But it is really hard to know what to expect. If we go there and play really well but don’t make the finals then I won’t be disappointed.”
Although curling teams are normally limited to four players and a fifth spare, the Jones rink will be bringing along a sixth person onto the ice. Skip Tracey Jones is 24 weeks pregnant, though she says it hasn’t affected her game in the slightest.
“I forget about it half the time. If I was sweeping it definitely might affect me be as for throwing it hasn’t,” says Jones. “That’s another reason we’re bringing a fifth, in case I don’t feel well and can’t play.”
p Two other Prince George rinks have qualified for provincial competition recently. The boys juvenile rink of James Blanchett, Aaron West, Chris Calder and Auron Young and girls juvenile rink of Jen Fewster, Deanna Kersey, Kristen Fewster and Sarah Bethune both won their matches at the Northern BC Juvenile Zones in Fort St. John last weekend, earning a berth in the March 19 to 21 BC Juvenile Provincials in Vancouver.