FREDERICTON — Jennifer Jones and Reid Carruthers were the winners of the inaugural PointsBet Invitational on Sunday with their Manitoban curling teams each pocketing $50,000 in prize money.
Jones defeated Casey Scheidegger's team, with Kristie Moore filling in at skip for the absent Scheidegger, in the women's final 7-4.
Carruthers doubled Matt Dunstone 8-4 in the men's championship game at Willie O’Ree Place in Fredericton.
Both teams won four straight games to collect winners' cheques.
Jones, an Olympic gold medallist and two-time world champion, and Carruthers are both skipping new teams this season.
The 48-year-old Jones is calling the shots for a team of under-25 curlers who won national and world junior titles just two years ago.
Karlee Burgess, Mackenzie Zacharias, Lauren Lenentine and alternate Emily Zacharias round out the Jones rink.
"We felt (chemistry) instantly, and I wasn’t sure because they were already an existing team, and I’m just a couple of years older than them, so I wasn’t sure how that would all work,” joked Jones.
“I honestly feel like it’s so easy. They’re easy to be around, and I feel like we’ve just become one united team, which is crazy because it’s only September.”
Jones is working on a 12-game winning streak with her new team dating back to the Saville Shoot-Out in Edmonton earlier this month.
The team went 8-0 and beat Rachel Homan in the final there.
Carruthers, vice Jason Gunnlaugson and the front end of Derek Samagalski and lead Connor Njegovan collected their first win of the 2022-23 season.
Carruthers couldn't recall a bigger payday in his curling career.
"It's unreal," Carruthers said. "New (Olympic) quad, new team and we win our third 'spiel, and to beat some of the best teams, and our provincial rival, a great team in Dunstone, oh yeah that's a confidence booster."
Jones was the No. 5 seed taking on No. 6 Scheidegger in Sunday's final.
After blanking the first end, Jones scored two in the second and added deuces in the fourth and eighth ends, while holding Moore to single points with hammer.
“They made a lot of great shots and I just didn’t finish in a couple of ends, most definitely," Moore said.
"In the past couple of games, I got opportunities later. But Jen just didn’t let us get back in there."
Jones' vice Zacharias, who was previously a skip and now throws second stones, says she and her teammates are thriving with Jones calling the shots.
“She’s been such a great leader for our team and we’re so privileged to have a chance to play with her," Zacharias said.
"We’re all just having fun out there as well, which is the icing on top of the cake."
Carruthers took control of the men's final by scoring two in the fourth and sixth ends and stealing a point in the seventh for a 6-2 lead.
Dunstone scored his first deuce in the eighth, but Carruthers countered with two in the ninth.
Dunstone had a chance to score three in the seventh and draw even, but he wrecked on a guard to give up the steal.
“I let the guys down today with that shot," Dunstone said. "That sucks. The guys gave me nothing but opportunities today and I couldn’t capitalize on them.
"Just threw it a little light. You can’t do that out there. Just a bad throw.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 25, 2022.