Overton-Clapham on cloud nine

KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:50 AM ET

Less than 24 hours later, Cathy O was still basking in the glow of perhaps her most satisfying triumph among a string of rather significant championships during her illustrious career.

“I’m feeling great,” Cathy Overton-Clapham said Monday. “My cheeks hurt from smiling so much.”

Overton-Clapham, of course, won the Manitoba Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Altona on Sunday — the year after she was sent packing by the Jennifer Jones team that she helped win the last three Canadian crowns — and a women’s world title.

“I’ve just been overwhelmed by the e-mails and the phone calls, and they’ve come from all over the world, including from some of the European teams,” Overton-Clapham said. “I heard from the Sweden team and (Scotland skip) Eve Muirhead … I got an e-mail from (Canadian curling legend) Colleen Jones, too.”

And if you don’t think that support has something to do with showing support after the bitter split from Jones, you haven’t been paying attention.

It was Overton-Clapham’s record-tying seventh Manitoba title and she will be making her 11th trip to the nationals in Charlottetown, P.E.I., where she will meet Jones in what will become the most hyped women’s curling contest ever.

“I know the media and everybody will be playing up the game between us and Jones, and there will be a lot of pressure on us to play our best,” said lead Raunora Westcott. “But we will try to treat that game like any other game, although I don’t know what the handshakes will be like before that game.”

And yes, some of that animosity towards Jones has rubbed off on Overton-Clapham’s Fort Rouge teammates.

“I just don’t like what they did and how they handled it,” Westcott said. “But I was busy dealing with my own (situation).”

PROOF POSITIVE: Both Westcott and second Leslie Wilson parted ways with Jill Thurston after helping her win last year’s Manitoba title.

“People had talked about us being one of the top front ends around and I think we did prove that we are right up there,” said Westcott, who had planned to sit the season out before hooking up with Cathy O.

Westcott and Wilson will benefit from having been to the nationals last year.

“The lights are brighter, the crowds are bigger and there will be more cameras so we will be more ready for it,” Westcott said. “And Karen’s (third Fallis) been there before, too (2002). Now, we’re all ready to go.

“And there’s no reason why we can’t be in the final.”

RECORD BECKONS: In her first chance to skip at the women’s nationals, Overton-Clapham has a crack at tying the record of six Canadian titles currently held by Colleen Jones.

“That’s a long way away yet,” she said. “But it is within reach.”

COACH SUB: Not only did Karen Fallis sub in for third Breanne Meakin, who is competing at the national juniors this week but Cathy Gauthier replaced Rob Meakin (Breanne’s dad) as coach in Altona. Gauthier had previously won two Canadian crowns with Overton-Clapham.

“She was great all week,” Overton-Clapham said. “She knew what to say at the right moments.”

Meakin, however, will coach the squad in P.E.I., where Breanne would be the fifth. Rob Meakin, by the way, won a Canadian Mixed championship with Fallis back in 1988, playing for Jeff Stoughton.

BITERS: Colleen Jones is scheduled to undergo brain surgery to address her meningitis soon ... Oops, Canada’s Ted Appelman actually lost the men’s bronze medal match to Korea at the Karuizawa International Curling Classic in Japan on the weekend — not the final as reported here Monday. Japan’s Yusuke Morozumi defeated USA’s Tyler George in the final.


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