Fired up by the ambition of etching their names on the coveted silverware for a third time the high profile Balbardie IBC partnership Sharon Leitch and Lorraine Malloy kept the dream intact with a superb hat-trick of winning performances in the qualifying action of the women’s indoor bowls Scottish Pairs Championship.
Wins over West of Scotland, Galleon, and Prestwick were all commanding in nature, sharp in focus, stylish in performance, and rewarded by a place in the showpiece last four stage of the event to be played at Falkirk on the weekend of 2nd and 3rd of April. Both players are full Scotland caps – Malloy with 24 and still current, and Leitch with 9, last appearance 2010 – and a very formidable partnership that delivered on their potential with trophy wins in seasons 2006 and 2011.
It would be fairy-tale stuff if the five-year sequence were continued however that will take deeds not dreams as the opposition that lies ahead is all top class in the shape of Midlothian’s Gaynor Duncan and Stacey McDougall, Claire Walker and Margaret Letham of Blantyre, and Leanne Furye and Caroline Ruxton of Arbroath.
Balbardie launched their campaign in the first round proper at Coatbridge and hit the ground running with a powerful display to crush Janette Moore and Helen Torrance of West of Scotland, 30-13. Kilmarnock opposition in the shape of Galleon duo Janette Weadon and Jean McFedries were next up but Leitch and Malloy were again in demolition mode and marched into the section final with a morale boosting 23-11 victory.
The quarter final of the championship looks to have been yet another runway triumph with Balbardie blitzing young Prestwick teenagers Rebecca Houston and Louise Noon, 23-7; but it took an exceptional high-level performance to achieve it. “We new the Prestwck 14 and 16 year old were exciting performers and a real danger to us having impressed against Alloa (25-10), West Lothian (24-23) and Bainfield (27-12), and they did make us stay on our toes”, reflected Leitch.
West Lothian IBC’s Jenifer Richardson and Lisa Barrett are two young full caps with a promising future and they showed up well to beat Falkirk, 23-8, in the prelim round but were then piped at the post in a 24-23 ding-dong with Prestwick.
The Bainfield banner was represented by two of their national league stars in the shape of Karen Tumblety and Marion Dickson who were also drawn to compete in the section hosted by Coatbridge and they opened in the prelim round against Cowal. The Edinburgh based challengers got off the mark with a strong performance that saw them power to a 25-15 win over Cathy Morrison and Alison Strachan of Cowal, and next up was a tilt at East Kilbride. The first round clash proved out to be a tough one but the hard fought battle saw Bainfield emerge the victors with a 19-16 edge over Laura Hall and Rosemary Hill, that set up a second round confrontation with Prestwick. Prestwick were turning out to be the eye-catching performers and teenagers Rebecca Houston and Louise Noon showed exactly why with a sparkling display that eclipsed Tumblety and Dickson, 27-12.