Bain field champion Mandy O’Donnell saw her ambition to capture the indoor bowls Scottish Singles Crown ended by a second round exit in the play down action at Arbroath over the weekend having opened with two encouraging performances.
O’Donnell’s defeat came at the hands of defending champion Leslie Doig of East Fife who went on to further enhance the quality of that performance by crushing the luckless Fiona Kerr of Lanarkshire 21-3 to book a place in the semi finals at Paisley on January 23.
Sunday morning’s second round clash against the reigning champion caught O’Donnell napping and she paid a heavy price with Doig racing into a 12-2 lead after eight ends and it continued to look like curtains for the Edinburgh challenger when standing 16-5 down after 12. O’Donnell then cheered up her Bainfield support with a purple patch spell of 1, 2, 2, 2, (1), 2 that brought her into the fringe of the picture at 14-17 but Doig retained the sharper focus and three ends later clinched a 21-15 victory.
“I felt in good shape to tackle a test that I knew was going to be tough but found it difficult to get shots onto the card over the opening ends and a ten shot deficit really left me with a mountain to climb”, said the Bainfield champ later. O’Donnell’s opening challenge in the prelim round was a major one in the shape of budding East Lothian star Dee Hoggan and it seemed the pendulum had swung against the more seasoned campaigner when Hoggan transformed a 12-5 deficit into a 16-14 lead.
Hoggan is well tutored in the extra stresses of entering the business end of Singles play so it us unlikely that the niece of 2000 national outdoor champion John McCrorie froze and more the case that O’Donnell fired up her own well proven killer instincts. O’Donnell certainly stepped up to the plate and delivered a storming run of 1, 2, 2, (1), 2 that triggered a winning 21-17 salute in 22-ends.
The first round proper pitched O’Donnell against Audrey Stewart of Forfar and although being held at 7-7 after nine ends the Bainfield champion exploded to 16 with a blitz run of 2, 2, 2, 1, 1, 1 and went on to win 21-10 in 20-ends.
Meanwhile Lorraine Malloy of Balbardie IBC produced a super-sonic performance in her prelim round tie and included a powerful 3, 3, 4 finish as she rocketed to a 21-2 win in just 10- ends against the unfortunate Alison Strachan of Cowal. Malloy’s reward was a first round tilt at Leslie Doig who had opened with a 21-14 win over Helen Dobson of Paisley and sent out a further strong signal of intent as she cashed in on a substantial 15-4 lead to beat her Commonwealth Games opponent 21-13 in 20-ends.
The Midlothian challenge was in the capable hands of 18 times capped Gaynor Duncan and her Dalkeith support cheer a commanding performance to beat June Dowell of Stirling, 21-6, in 14-ends. Duncan failed to do herself justice in the first round proper and crashed out to a disappointing 21-7 defeat in 18 ends to June Marshall of Glasgow.
There was an extra dimension of interest to the West Lothian IBC challenge with circumstances promoting their championship runner up in the shape of 80 year old Jean Brown into the unexpected limelight of a national championship. Brown didn’t survive her first round tie but put up a very bold show to lead Jean McFedries of Galleon 19-16 before running out of steam to concede 1, 3, 1 and suffer a 21-19 defeat in a stamina testing 26-ends. Leslie Doig is joined in the semi final line up by her East Fife clubmate Celia Smith, Lorna Cameron of Whiteinch, and Caroline Brown of Blantyre.