Final piece of puzzle

KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:48 AM ET

ALTONA, Man. — Karen Fallis was no ordinary fill-in.

When the veteran Manitoba curler was recruited to replace Breanne Meakin at third for Cathy Overton-Clapham for the 2011 provincial Scotties Tournament of Hearts because of a scheduling conflict, Fallis was happy to answer the call but she wasn’t just going along for the ride.

Fallis continued her trend of coming up big by making two clutch freezes in what proved to be the decisive end in the championship final, opening the door for Overton-Clapham to steal a pair and create a 5-3 lead that turned into a 7-4 final over Chelsea Carey of Morden.

“It’s kind of weird,” Fallis confessed in the aftermath on Sunday. “My season was kind of done and it was average. Then Cathy called and said ‘come and play’ so I got to play. Anytime you get to play on arena ice, it’s so nice and it’s so much fun.

“I had a good week and played some good shots. I’m excited to have the opportunity (to go to nationals).”

Fallis is no stranger to success, having won a pair of Canadian mixed titles as the third for Jeff Stoughton (1988 and 1991) and skipped her own team to a national junior championship (1981).

However, Fallis has never won a Canadian women’s crown and this might be her best opportunity to do so.

Overton-Clapham was quick to confirm that Fallis would be her third at the national Scotties in Charlottetown, P.E.I., regardless of what happens with Meakin at the junior nationals in Calgary.

Fallis played in only one event with the Overton-Clapham team before the provincial Scotties, but it certainly didn’t show.

“You wouldn’t know it by the way we clicked out there,” said Overton-Clapham. “She played great. Amazing. She brings excitement for sure and keeps me loose and laughing most of the time. It was a great combination and she played great all week.”

The addition of Fallis turned out to be the final piece of the puzzle of this team that was thrown together after Overton-Clapham was fired by Jennifer Jones’ St. Vital rink eight months ago.

The front end of Raunora Westcott and Leslie Wilson also needed a team to play for after parting ways with 2010 Manitoba champion Jill Thurston and found a perfect fit.

Fallis played third for Jennifer Jones and captured a provincial Scotties with her in Brandon in 2002, so she was proud of Overton-Clapham’s ability to put the disappointment of being fired behind her and find a way to get back to the national stage.

“It’s nice to see her come back and play well and have another opportunity at the Canadians,” said Fallis. “You know what, the only reason she plays with a chip on her shoulder is because everybody reminds her non-stop. She doesn’t want to hear about it that much anymore.”

But Fallis understands that storyline isn’t going to happen anytime soon — at least not until the two teams meet in Charlottetown, P.E.I. on Feb. 23 and possibly again in the playoffs.

“It’ll end up being a big deal,” said Fallis. “I played with Jennifer for six, seven years. We all know Jennifer really well.”

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