ALTONA — Whether you love it or hate it, this has become the dramatic storyline in women’s curling that keeps on giving.
After a clutch triple-raise take-out by Cathy Overton-Clapham in the ninth end, a voice in the crowd delivered a line to be heard by all that captured the spirit of what many supportive fans have been thinking for about eight months.
“Watch out Jenny,” the spectator, Steve Penner of Altona, bellowed before a chorus of laughter broke out.
It was enough to make Overton-Clapham crack a smile and those emotions turned to tears of joy one end later as she secured a 7-4 victory over Chelsea Carey of Morden to claim the 2011 Scotties Tournament of Hearts before a capacity crowd of more than 1,000 at Sunflower Gardens on Sunday night.
“Yeah, I can’t remember what was said but it was nice to hear something like that. It was just funny, I guess. It lightened the mood a bit,” said Overton-Clapham, who captured her seventh provincial women’s title roughly eight months after Jennifer Jones fired her and replaced her with former Canadian junior champ Kaitlyn Lawes.
“What’s happened in the last eight months has been tough to take and there’s been so many things that have gone wrong that we’ve had to deal with.
“It’s just exciting to be able to put all that aside and put our best game out on the ice. That’s what we did.”
Overton-Clapham said she was blindsided by the news of her dismissal, but quickly became determined to earn a trip to Charlottetown, P.E.I., for the national Scotties, Feb. 19-27.
The team started to come together after Raunora Westcott and Leslie Wilson parted ways with 2010 champion Jill Thurston and the final piece of the puzzle was adding top junior Breanne Meakin.
In another interesting twist, with Meakin earning a trip to the national juniors, she was replaced by Karen Fallis, who won the Scotties as third for Jones in 2002 and played great all week.
Overton-Clapham was asked about what it’s going to be like to go head-to-head with Jones in the late draw on Feb. 23.
“I wouldn’t be doing anything for her, it would be all about our team,” said Overton-Clapham. “It has nothing to do with them. It’s done, it’s over. It’s been a long eight months.
“Do I want to go out there and play my best and win? Absolutely, I would be lying if I didn’t. When that day comes, I hope that I’m at my best.”
Sunday’s victory capped a roller-coaster week for Overton-Clapham, who defeated Karen Rosser of Springfield 7-3 in eight ends after losing to Carey in the 1 vs. 1 game, just to get herself into the final.
“It all just worked out and I couldn’t be happier,” said Wilson. “I’m overwhelmed and I can’t believe it. We found a new team to play with and we found a new skip and it happened to be Cathy O — it doesn’t get much better than that.
“You know what, I haven’t seen her miss many shots this year. She’s been on fire. She’s so consistent. It shows in these major events that she puts so much into the game.”
LOOSE HAIRS: The media all-star team included Karen Rosser at skip, Kristy Jenion at third, Kristen Foster at second and Westcott at lead ... The 2012 Scotties Tournament of Hearts has been awarded to Portage la Prairie and will be held Jan. 25-29 at the PCU Centre.