November 26, 2012
Never count out 'Peg's Overton-ClaphamHoping to get hot at Canada Cup in Moose Jaw
By JIM BENDER, QMI Agency
WINNIPEG - You could call her the sleeper.
If we were going to seed the seven women's squads at the Canada Cup this week, Cathy Overton-Clapham would likely come in last — with fellow Manitoban Chelsea Carey at No. 1.
Then again, we have learned over the years to never count out 'Cathy O' when the pressure's on, even if she will be mentoring the youngest squad on the ice in Moose Jaw, Sask.
"I'm excited for the opportunity to play in it again," Overton-Clapham said Sunday. "I haven't been able to play in it the last couple of years. And we've been working hard to prepare for it.
"To get back on arena ice and play on it again will be really exciting."
Overton-Clapham helped Jennifer Jones win the Canada Cup one year — before adding an Olympic trials berth to it made the event bigger than either the Brier or the Scotties. Although she has played in it a number of times, this will be a first for her team of third Jenna Loder, second Ashley Howard and Breanne Meakin.
"That's exciting for them," said Overton-Clapham. "You know, the Players Championship was a good test for them last year and the girls sucked it up and played really well."
Well enough, in fact, to make it to the final, which they lost to Saskatchewan's Stefanie Lawton, who will also be in Moose Jaw.
"But that's a really tough field (in Moose Jaw) and everyone wants to win it," Overton-Clapham said.
Also in Moose Jaw will be both Alberta's Heather Nedohin and the Jennifer Jones team — who have already booked tickets to the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings in Winnipeg — Ontario's Sherry Middaugh and Alberta's Crystal Webster.
While Carey and Ontario's Rachel Homan — who will not be at the Canada Cup — are currently the hottest teams on the cashspiel circuit, Overton-Clapham is one of the coldest.
"We started off really well in our first two events but we haven't really done well in anything since," admitted Overton-Clapham, who has only earned $3,000 to date. "It's not that we've played terribly, we just haven't been consistent. And we've lost to some really good teams that played great.
"Don't forget, our team is still new. This is only our second year together."
Because her foursome performed so well in their first year together, Overton-Clapham clinched a spot in the pre-trials tournament where the last two women's berths into the 2013 Olympic trials will be determined.
"Having the pre-trials spot is awesome," Overton-Clapham said. "We may be struggling a little bit right now but our goal is to play in the Olympic trials."
Overton-Clapham does not appear in the top 10 of this year's CTRS points standings. But her squad is sixth on the 2011-13 standings, only seven points behind both Alberta's Shannon Kleibrink and Homan — neither of whom qualified for Moose Jaw.
Lawton is second in the 2012-13 standings — behind Homan — and first on the two-year list. Middaugh is in third on this year's, and second on the two-year list. Carey is fifth in the current standings and third on the two-year list.
On the men's side, we would give the nod to Alberta's Kevin Koe as the No. 1 seed, with maybe Ontario's young John Epping bringing up the rear. Manitoba's Jeff Stoughton and Mike McEwen are both quite capable of winning the whole deal, though.
TSN will be televising the entire Canada Cup for the first time.
ON TAP: The Canada Cup kicks off an incredibly busy curling month. The local junior and senior regionals will be held next weekend, along with Manitoba Curling Tour spiels in Brandon and at the Thistle Curling Club. The MCT Championships will be held in Beausejour, Dec. 7-9 … Both the men's and women's regionals will be held Dec. 13-18 and the annual Junior Christmas spiel goes just after Christmas, leading into the junior provincial championships in early January … Oh, and there's also another Grand Slam in Kelowna, B.C., Dec. 12-16.