Meakin jumped at chance to play for Cathy O

JIM BENDER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:24 AM ET

WINNIPEG -- It was not like she had to mull over the proposal for long.

Cathy Overton-Clapham called to ask Breanne Meakin to join her new women's team at third a short while after Overton-Clapham was dumped by reigning Canadian champion Jennifer Jones.

"About two seconds," Meakin quickly replied.

"I was surprised and excited and honoured to get the opportunity to play with her," she added. "I'm already learning from her."

Meakin, 20, will not only compete on the women's circuit with Overton-Clapham but will attempt to defend her Manitoba junior women's title at the same time.

Meakin, who played lead for Kaitlyn Lawes when she won the 2009 Canadian junior women's crown, is playing third for the first time in her first foray into women's curling.

"It's been great so far," Meakin said. "It's similar to skip and I really love sweeping and judging the rock. I also like being in the house."

The third-year university student also likes to be busy on the pebble.

"I love it so it's not a problem for me," said Meakin, who skipped her revamped junior squad into the playoffs on the women's side of a Manitoba Curling Tour cashspiel in Beausejour last weekend.

Meakin now has Erika Sigurdson at third, with Briane Meilleur moving down to second and Krysten Karwacki still at lead. That team could have a major conflict if Meakin fails to win next month's junior berth bonspiel as the junior women's regional playdowns will conflict with the women's city zones come December. If so, Meakin will simply play both, she said.

But first, Meakin will join Overton-Clapham and her front end of Leslie Wilson and Raunora Westcott at the prestigious $60,000 Manitoba Lotteries Women's Curling Classic, a women's Grand Slam event to be held at the Fort Rouge Curling Club this weekend.

That field will include 2010 Olympic silver medallist Cheryl Bernard of Alberta, B.C.'s former world champion Kelly Scott, defending Saskatchewan champion Amber Holland, reigning Manitoba champ Jill Thurston and Jones.

"It's going to be a great field and I'm excited and ready to play," said Meakin, who had played in it with Lawes when they played together in junior.

Lawes may have replaced Overton-Clapham at third for Jones but Meakin remains friends with her former skipper.

"We still talk to each other a lot on Facebook," she said.

Rob Meakin, Breanne's dad, is coaching both her junior and women's foursomes this season. Bob Sigurdson, Erika's father, will help coach the juniors when necessary.

NOTEABLE: Thurston, who replaced Wilson and Westcott with Jenna Loder (who played third for Lawes in '09) and Kendra Georges, has gotten off to a pretty good start on the cashspiel circuit, winning $6,200 thus far ... Bernard, by the way, has launched an outdoor advertising campaign with billboards going up in Calgary seeking sponsorship after her team lost a major one ... Nova Scotia legend Colleen Jones will skip a squad with Heather Smith-Dacey at third at the Classic ... The Classic final will be played Monday, with $15,000 going to the victor.

RUSSIAN IS COMING: While the women are battling each other, the men will be competing at the $58,000 Canad Inns Prairie Classic in Portage la Prairie the same weekend. Reigning Manitoba champion Jeff Stoughton will unveil his own revamped squad there, with Jon Mead back at third, Reid Carruthers at second and Steve Gould still at lead.

Also competing there will be former Manitoban Jason Gunnlaugson, now representing Russia. However, only his lead actually hails from Russia. Other teams in Portage include Ontario's former world champion Glenn Howard and Manitoba's Mike McEwen.

Shaw TV will broadcast a number of the playoff games Sunday and Monday, with the winner earning $18,000.

BITERS: Tickets are still on sale for the Canadian Mixed Championship to be held in Morris, Nov. 13-20 ... RockTalk, the Sports Radio 1290 curling radio show hosted by The Curler's Resby Coutts, has moved from Mondays to Wednesdays, 7-8 p.m.

jim.bender@sunmedia.ca


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