Lawes meeting expectations

JIM BENDER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:45 AM ET

WINNIPEG - Talk about an awkward position.

Kaitlyn Lawes was invited to replace living legend Cathy Overton-Clapham at third for reigning Canadian champion Jennifer Jones after last season.

Lawes, who won a pair of Canadian junior crowns, then had to try to fit in with the new foursome while the fur was still flying over the controversial decision to part ways with ‘Cathy O.’

“I tried to keep myself away from that because it wasn’t any of my business,” Lawes said from Edmonton earlier this week — where she was practising before heading to the Continental Cup that starts in St. Albert, Alta., Thursday.

But it is never easy for anyone adjusting to a new squad and it was even tougher to replace a woman who has won a Manitoba record five Canadian crowns — four with Jones — and a world title. And yes, Lawes was a little worried about whether she would be able to perform up to the expectations for one of Canada’s all-time greatest teams.

“I’m sure it was in the back of my mind at first but, after playing together, that got the nerves out, and the kinks out,” said Lawes, 22. “But these girls are really good. They made it very easy for me to make the adjustment and it’s been a ton of fun.”

Lawes, who was recruited to play third for Edmonton’s Cathy King last season, has obviously been a quick study as Jones once again leads the women’s money list with $41,069, almost $10,000 more than Switzerland’s Mirjam Ott, who is in second, and $11,000 more than Manitoba’s Chelsea Carey, who is third.

“The Canada Cup was the only event where we didn’t qualify,” said Lawes. “These girls are just so dedicated and they’re phenomenal curlers.”

Now, Lawes will play in her very first Continental Cup, curling’s answer to the Ryder Cup — one of the many perks for replacing Overton-Clapham.

“It’s pretty crazy and surreal for me to get a chance to play in it, and it should prove to be a lot of fun,” she said. “It’s going to be pretty different because I’ve never played in an event like this before — to play on a much bigger team with so many different formats and I’m very excited about it.”

It will be the second Continental Cup for Jones, who will be joined by Alberta’s Olympic silver medallist Cheryl Bernard and U.S. champ Erika Brown on the women’s side. On the men’s side will be Alberta’s Olympic gold medallist Kevin Martin, Alberta’s world champ Kevin Koe and American champion Pete Fenson.

That Team North America will play Team World consisting of Norway’s Olympic silver medallist Thomas Ulsrud, Scotland’s two-time world champion David Murdoch and Sweden’s Nilkas Edin, as well as China’s Olympic bronze medallist Bingyu Wang, Germany’s world champion Andrea Schopp and Ott, a two-time Olympic silver medallist.

TSN will televise 28 hours of the event. The winning team will earn $52,000, with the losers pocketing $26,000.

CLOSER TO HOME: Only 13 teams have entered the competitive side of Curl Manitoba Annual Women’s Bonspiel being held at the Granite Curling Club this week — with good reason. There is no provincial berth on the line this year because last year’s winner got the trip to this year’s provincials. Curl Manitoba had planned to drop one in from the zones if there had been a lack of entries but that situation did not present itself, said executive director Shane Ray.

What, two teams in two different city zones was enough?

“We just didn’t think it would be fair to take one out of the city zones at the last minute,” Ray said.

That means teams like three-time Manitoba women’s champion Barb Spencer do not get a last chance to qualify.

BITERS: Manitoba’s Mike McEwen continued his hot hand as he won a WCT event in Perth, Scotland last weekend … The Wildewood Curling Club has re-opened for business and Curl Manitoba has booked ice for the MCA men’s spiel there next week … The St. Vital will host a sendoff for Breanne Meakin’s team, the Manitoba junior women champs, this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $10 each.


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