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Overton-Clapham moves back to third for Alberta rink

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‘I looked at it as a really good opportunity. I’m going to get a chance to play again at a position I really love and have a passion for’ — Cathy Overton-Clapham

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‘I looked at it as a really good opportunity. I’m going to get a chance to play again at a position I really love and have a passion for’ — Cathy Overton-Clapham

Cathy Overton-Clapham, a five-time Canadian women's curling champion and the winningest women's curler in Manitoba history, could be wearing an Alberta jacket as early as next year's national Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

 

Overton-Clapham told the Free Press on Wednesday she has accepted an offer to move, at least temporarily, to Alberta and curl third with Calgary's Crystal Webster during the 2013-14 season.

Overton-Clapham said Webster contacted her with the opening about two weeks ago and she had to think hard about whether to accept it or not.

'I looked at it as a really good opportunity. I'm going to get a chance to play again at a position I really love and have a passion for'

-- Cathy Overton-Clapham

"I took a few days to think about it, for sure," said Overton-Clapham. "But I looked at it as a really good opportunity. I'm going to get a chance to play again at a position I really love and have a passion for. And they also have a Pre-Trials spot and that's also intriguing."

The Webster team has a berth in a Pre-Trials event in November and Overton-Clapham said the team's first priority will be to win one of the two berths up for grabs for December's Canadian Curling Trials at the MTS Centre, where Canada's men's and women's representatives for Sochi will be determined.

But if the Webster team doesn't advance to the Trials -- or does advance, but fails to win the right to go the Olympics -- Overton-Clapham said she's agreed to stay on with Webster and attempt to win the Alberta's women's playdowns in January 2014.

The winner of that event, of course, will go on to represent Alberta at the national Scotties Tournament of Hearts the following month in Montreal.

And that spectre -- an iconic Manitoba curler and seven-time Manitoba women's champion suddenly wearing the Wild Rose of Alberta on her back -- would be a stunning sight in a sport where nothing much changes and never this quickly when it does.

So what would it be like to suddenly be representing one of Manitoba's fiercest curling rivals, Overton-Clapham was asked.

"Hoo-boy, I haven't thought that far ahead yet," laughed the 43-year-old.

Overton-Clapham, of course, is best known from her time as third for Jennifer Jones -- a combination that won four Canadian championships in six seasons but dissolved suddenly when Jones fired Overton-Clapham following the 2010 season.

Overton-Clapham went on to skip her own team to a Manitoba championship in 2011, but struggled the past two seasons and stunned the curling world when she announced in February her most recent team -- which had a Pre-Trials spot of their own -- was breaking up and she'd decided to "step away" from curling for the time being.

The semi-retirement didn't last long, however. Overton-Clapham spared for the Webster foursome at a bonspiel in Grande Prairie, Alta., in March.

That, in turn, led to the call a couple of weeks agofrom Webster, who had decided to part ways with former third Erin Carmody, a former P.E.I. women's champion and 2010 runner-up at the national Scotties to Jones.

Overton-Clapham said the chance to once again play third -- her natural position -- and to take a shot at playing for the Olympics before a hometown crowd in Winnipeg was too good to pass up.

"I've really missed playing third and I'm excited about it," said Overton-Clapham. "This is just a really good opportunity for me right now."

 

paul.wiecek@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 9, 2013 D5

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