There is feeling of New Year Cheer and Christmas Joy at Balbardie IBC with their high profile partnership of internationalists Sharon Leitch and Lorraine Malloy delivering three brilliant performances to outshine all oppositions in the qualifying action of the Scottish Pairs Championship played at Coatbridge.
Wins over West of Scotland, Galleon, and Prestwick were commanding in nature, stylish in performance, and rewarded by a place in the showpiece last four stage being played at Falkirk on the weekend of 2nd and 3rd of April. Both players are Scotland caps, Malloy current with 24 and Leitch former with 9, and a very formidable partnership that is driven by the ambition of capturing the national title for a third time having etched their name on the silverware 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 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 Prestwick 14 and 16 year olds 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 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 gent’s version of The Scottish Pairs saw West Lothian’s Derek Hagart and Stuart Johnston make a disappointing exit in the prelim round at Coatbridge, going down 22-14 to East Kilbride.
It was also an anti climax campaign for Balbardie with the Linlithgow partnership of Graham Keery and Gary Orr making a 20-14 prelim round exit to eventual section winners, Craig Lindsay and Paul Foster MBE of Presrtwick. Prestwick are joined in the last four by Arbroath, Blantyre, and Jamie Higgins and Derek Oliver of East Lothian.