Strong title winning bids from Balbardie IBC in the Ladies Pairs and West Lothian IBC in the Gents Pairs both came to grief with frustrating last hurdle falls in the showcase stage of Scottish Championships played at Aberdeen.Read More
And a pathway into the final of the Gents Triples was a prize cruelly road blocked and denied to a boldly magnificently performing Balbardie trio of Andrew Jenkins, Kenny Martin, and Ewan Shearer.
Shearer and his front two entered their semi final as underdogs against a high profile East Lothian trio of Mark Johnston, Willie Wood MBE, and Derek Oliver who between them had 125 international caps and previous national title wins to their credit. The early exchanges belied the formbook as a tenacious attitude from the Bathgate based triple saw them set the pace and battle into an encouraging 9-6 lead after nine ends.
The picture did change complexion with a rapid run of 2, 2, 2 that enabled East Lothian to cross into a 12-9 advantage but that landscape was dramatically transformed by brilliant 5, 2 counter-strokes that saw Balbardie back in the driving seat with a 16-12 supremacy. The prospect of Balbardie delivering a shock upset was intensified with the East Lothian stars still being forced to operate on the back foot at 18-15 down; and fast approaching the finishing line with just two ends to play. The outcome of the penultimate end was going to be crucial and it was a temperature raising moment when Oliver and his front two carded a sizzling count of three that resulted in the master scoreboard flashing a match score signal of 18-18. Setting the scene for a thrilling climax and a last end drama that set pulse rates racing before culminating in a knife-edge single that triggered a passionate rejoicing in the East Lothian camp – in stark contrast to the blanket of devastation that enveloped Balbardie. East Lothian faced Colin Banks, Brian Reid, and Jason Banks of Garioch in the final and were trapped in the jaws of defeat at 17-11 down but escaped to title triumph with a storming fight back of 3, 1, 1, 2 to steal an 18-17 victory.
The Balbardie banner was also prominent in the Ladies Pairs and carried proudly by international figures Sharon Leitch and Lorraine Craig who dominated their semi final to score a 23-12 victory over Margaret Sloan and Emma McIntyre of Dumbarton. The exciting Balbardie partnership were bidding to achieve a hat trick of title wins in the event and the final pitched them against Leanne Furye and Caroline Ruxton of Arbroath who had shown strong form to dispatch Sandra McLeish and Stacey McDougall of Midlothian in their semi final. A first end nightmare for Balbardie in the final saw them concede a six and the setback signalled the start of catastrophic experience that led to a 21-3 deficit after 13-ends and a disappointing 24-10 defeat.
West Lothian hopes soared when Thomas Mann and Calum Logan delivered a strong performance to crush their fellow caps Robert Gordon and Robert Grant of Lanarkshire, 21-10 in their semi final of the Gents Pairs. The imposing figure of recently crowned World Singles Champion, Paul Foster MBE and his lead Craig Lindsay suggested a hard fought final was in store and after 11 –ends the outcome hung in the balance with WL very much in touch at 8-7 down. But a blank spell of four ends proved costly for Mann and Logan with the loss of 4, 1, 4, 1 leaving them a mountain to climb at 18-7 down and with the challenge proving to be beyond them they suffered a 20-9 defeat.
Tweedbank beat Elgin 20-9 in the final of the Ladies Triples while Furye and Ruxton celebrated a title double with Arbroath beating Abbeyview in the Fours. Blantyre captured the Gents Fours with a 22-20 win over East Lothian.