Jones: Cathy O matchup 'just another game'

KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:26 PM ET

Repeat after me, it’s just another game.

It’s just another game.

Just another game?

While the curling world seemingly can’t wait until the first meeting of the season between 2011 Manitoba champion Cathy Overton-Clapham and her former teammates in the Jennifer Jones rink on Feb. 23 at the 2011 national Scotties Championship, the subject was met with a collective yawn and occasional chuckle as Jones and company met with the media on Friday morning at the Granite Curling Club.

“What game is that?” said Jones, who is supported by lead Dawn Askin, second Jill Officer and new third Kaitlyn Lawes this season. “I’m not just saying that, it really is just another game in the round robin. We’re going to treat it like any other game.

“Obviously, it’s been good for the Scotties because it’s getting a lot of press, for some reason. Whether it’s justified or not. We’re just going to go out there and have some fun. Win or lose, I don’t think it will really impact the week’s results, which is really what you’re looking for.”

Both Askin and Officer insisted the matchup with Overton-Clapham was going to be just like any other as well.

“It will be like any other team we go out and play. We have to focus on ourselves and do our thing and not worry about the opposition,” said Officer. “Just go out and play the best game that we can.”

Askin allowed the familiarity with Overton-Clapham could have its benefits in a head-to-head meeting.

“With any former teammate you play and with teams you play a lot, you kind of get an idea of what their strengths and weaknesses are, so that will come into play for sure,” said Askin. “Obviously, everyone is talking about it. That one won’t be any different than how we treat the other ones.”

News that Overton-Clapham had been replaced sent shockwaves across the curling world and in many people’s eyes, Jones has been portrayed as the villain for making the decision to go younger with Lawes at third.

Although there hasn’t been much talk between former teammates since official word came down, Jones said she’s talked to Overton-Clapham “a few times” and even sent along her congratulations after Cathy O captured the provincial title in Altona.

“I’m very happy for their team and Cathy has found a great team and she’s moved on to a new and successful phase of her curling career,” said Jones. “Sometimes people look for more than is there. People used to always talk about the rivalry between Kelly Scott and I, that really didn’t exist. But it seemed to bring a lot to women’s curling. We’ve seen each other at events and played on the next sheet, so it’s not like it’s brand new for us.”

That may be true, but this new rivalry is certain to attract plenty of viewers — even some who aren’t fans of curling — when Manitoba faces Canada live on TSN during the evening draw.

“Hopefully it’s a great game where both teams play great and it comes down to the last shot,” said Jones.

Team Canada will attempt to win a fourth consecutive national crown this year in P.E.I. and Jones isn’t feeling any additional burden as defending champion.

“I don’t think any team has the bull’s-eye on their back. We play against these teams all year round,” said Jones. “We know them so well and the top teams are so close together. We just want to play our best and we know what to expect from everybody.

“This is probably going to be one of the best Scotties ever. It’s going to be a tough grind and we just want to make the playoffs.”


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