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Overton-Clapham, Howard undefeated at Players' Championship

The Canadian Press

4/18/2012 10:31:54 PM

SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. -- Winnipeg's Cathy Overton-Clapham is the only undefeated women's team left at the $370,000 Capital One Grand Slam of Curling Sun Life Financial Players' Championship.

Overton-Clapham is 4-0 after defeating Saskatoon's Stefanie Lawton 7-3 in a clash of undefeated teams at EastLink Arena on Wednesday night. Lawton fell to 3-1.

"I couldn't really ask for anything better," said Overton-Clapham. "It's such a battle with such great teams. To be 4-0, we'll take it for sure." The turning point was a six-ender by Overton-Clapham in the fifth to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 7-2 lead.

"We were only lying one for the longest time, and they had one kind of frozen to ours," said Overton-Clapham in explaining how the end unfolded.

"Unfortunately, on (Lawton's third stone) Sherry Anderson's shot she gave us an opportunity to try and move it out of the way, and we did.

"Stefanie had two difficult shots, and I was fortunate enough to roll in. She (Lawton) had a come-around, and made it the best she could to get third shot out of it (with her final shot)."

Overton-Clapham, who couldn't see all of Lawton's rock that was biting the four-foot, hit for six as it jammed at the back of the eight-foot.

"Getting seven was a possibility, but we wanted to make sure we made it go away and got our six," added Overton-Clapham.

Earlier in the day, Overton-Clapham, who is supported by third stone Jenna Loder, second stone Ashley Howard and lead Breanne Meakin, beat Edmonton's Heather Nedohin 7-3 and Sherry Middaugh of Coldwater, Ont., 6-5.

No. 1 seed Jennifer Jones of Winnipeg went 2-1 on Wednesday to even her record at 2-2. Jones started the day with a 7-6 extra-end win over Winnipeg's Chelsea Carey, then lost 5-2 to Nedohin and counted two four-enders in a 10-5 decision over Switzerland's Silvana Tirinzoni in the evening draw.

"We haven't been as sharp as we would like, but we are still hanging in there and we'll have to have a couple of good games tomorrow (Thursday)," said Jones, who will face Middaugh at 8:30 a.m., and Scotland's Eve Muirhead at 4 p.m.

Muirhead (1-3) moved into the win column with a 5-4 win over winless Chelsea Carey (0-4) in the evening draw. Carey has lost three straight extra-end games.

"It was crucial we got a win out here," said Muirhead. "I think four wins will qualify you (for the playoffs). It's been tough because we've had so many close games, we've had bad breaks and things like that."

Muirhead explained her game-winning shot: "My first one overcurled on me, and I thought it may have had something under it. It didn't leave us in a great position. She (Carey) came around, and we came close to the guard with back eight, 12-foot weight and managed to get a tap for the win."

Carey's rock was positioned top four-foot, and Muirhead managed to tap it through the rings.

In men's play,Glenn Howard scored three points in the seventh end and earned a key 8-5 in over Mike McEwen.

Howard's rink form Coldwater, Ont., improved to 2-0 at the final Capital One Grand Slam of Curling event of the season.

Howard opened with a hit for two points in the first end, but McEwen took responded with two of his own in the second.

Forcing Howard to a single in the third end, McEwen got his first lead drawing for two points in the fourth end to go up 4-3. The teams traded singles in the next two ends before things started to unravel for the McEwen team.

In the seventh end, Howard had several stones around a single McEwen rock that counted for shot, and McEwen was drawing to try and sit two and force Howard to a single point. However, McEwen slid too deep and Howard came away with three points and a 7-5 lead heading into the final end.

Howard looked to clinch the game with his last stone of the match but rubbed a guard. McEwen had a chance at claiming three points and the win, but the Winnipeg skip's last rock over-curled and picked his own stone out, handing Howard another point.

"I had one of those (shots) where you can only hit an inch of a rock to less than an inch, and I hit about 100th of it and tick, tick we got the two out and ended up getting the three," Howard said. "Then I missed my last one in eight (rubbing a guard), and Mike had a real makeable shot for three and missed it. We were fortunate."

Howard moved one step closer to clinching a berth into the 2013 Olympic Trials. The reigning World Champion can claim the berth by reaching the semifinals. McEwen (0-2) needs to win the event and see Howard miss the playoffs to claim the berth.

Edmonton's Kevin Martin also improved to 2-0 with a 5-2 win over John Epping of Toronto. Martin took control in the fourth end, when his tap for three points gave him a 4-1 lead at the halfway point in the game.

"Once we got that three we had full control," Martin said. "The boys made all the freezes (four) exactly right in a row. John was in big trouble.

"When they (rocks) are exactly lined up perfectly, there is nothing the other team can do."