(by Jonathan Brazeau) TRURO, N.S. — Kaitlyn Jones stunned Silvana Tirinzoni to kick off the Canadian Beef Masters at Rath Eastlink Community Centre. [Team Jones includes Cornwall Curling Club member Lauren Lenentine, while Switzerland’s Team Tirinzoni is coached by Charlottetown’s Peter Gallant.]
The reigning world junior champion and a crowd favourite from Halifax scored four points in the second to upset the Swiss Olympic rep 7-4 in Tuesday night’s opening round-robin draw.
Team Jones celebrate after winning their opening match Tuesday night at the Canadian Beef Masters against Team Tirinzoni. (Anil Mungal)
It’s also the backyard event for Team Jones’s Karlee and Lindsey Burgess, who throw second and lead respectively and grew up in the Colchester County area.
“It feels pretty amazing considering that this is Karlee and Lindsey’s home crowd and we know a bunch of people here tonight,” Jones said. “Having that extra amount of people cheering for you, it just enlightened me and I just feel really great.”
Their fans were out in full force with a few even holding up big heads of the team.
Jones said with a laugh, “They were a little bit annoying but it just shows that we have fans that really care about us and want us to succeed, so whenever they bring it out we know it’s a good sign.”
Team Jones received a sponsor’s exemption as the 15th and final entry into the second event and first major of the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling season.
“It just gets us more experience and I think that really helps us, especially when a couple of us in the future are aging out soon and are going to be playing on the women’s stage,” Jones said. “Just putting ourselves out there and playing at this level really helps us for what is to come.”
Jones jumped out to an early lead after capitalizing on some key mistakes from Team Tirinzoni to draw for four points in the second stanza.
“We weren’t expecting to get big ends,” Jones said. “We were just trying to get an easy two and everything was falling in place for the end. We just kept pushing and got a couple misses out of them, so we ended up getting four. It’s a nice feeling, especially because they’re such a good team.”
Tirinzoni charged back to count three in the third. The teams alternated singles in four and five, Jones added another in six and stole one in seven to lead by three coming home without the hammer. Even though anything can happen under the five-rock rule, Jones remained calm down to the wire and ran Tirinzoni out of rocks to secure her team’s first win in the series.
“I wasn’t too nervous because I knew we had the three-point lead,” Jones said. “Even though it is the five-rock rule, I still think that we had control coming into the last end. Just keeping playing and making shots, we just knew that we could finish this game strong and we did.”
Team Jones also features third Lauren Lenentine, who joined the crew starting at last season’s Humpty’s Champions Cup.