Midlothian’s adventure in the Hamilton Trophy continues on an exciting path with their nail biting 130-124 victory over Dumfriesshire at Glasgow venue Garrowhill taking them into the final at Crieff this Saturday.
The outcome of a hard fought semi-final was in doubt right down to the wire with the ultimate clincher being a last end count of three shots conjured up by world stage figure Graeme Archer.
Midlothian’s Scott Briggs, Colin Walker and David Peacock won three of the six rinks but the the last-gasp peel achieved by Archer proved to be crucial.
Dumfriesshire inflicted single figure defeats on Colin Bonner and Danny McDougall while the final scoreline justified the ever so narrow 64-62 supremacy Midlothian enjoyed on the count of winning ends.
A highlight that was inspirational to the Midlothian effort was their 12-2 capture of the first end with the first cheer being a resounding response to Briggs carding a mighty five.
Briggs and Walker went on to make significant 10-4 and 8-2 contributions to a mostly positive first seven-end phase performance that also benefited from a 14-9 support from Bonner as Midlothian achieved a high scoring 54-45 advantage.
But the cushion of a comfort zone never came into sight as the hammer and tongs nature of the middle phase exchanges produced a 39-39 share followed by a pulsating toe to toe climax that resulted in Midlothian’s 40-37 edge keeping the Dumfriesshire menace sufficiently in check.
Briggs produced a strong performance and impressively counted at 14 of his 21 ends as he skipped Andy Wilton, Stevie Robertson and John Stevenson into a 13-4 lead then on to 30-14 win that included a gilt edged finish of 2, 2, (2), 4, 1, 1 against K Murray.
Walker set a strong pace to skip Willie Rankin, Lindsay Plenderleith and Ramsay Balir into a 9-2 lead then answered game and match pressures with a 1, 1, 1, 2, finish to beat D Kiltie 20-14, having counted at 13 of his 21 ends.
Peacock trailed 8-3 but recovered to skip Calum Redpath, Neil Gibson and Craig Hodge to a battling 20-19 win over R Graham.
Archer led 17-13 and 22-19 then came under intense pressure with the late loss of 4, 2 to be crossed 25-22; but last-end heroics saw him skip Neil Linton, Andy Buerle and Ronnie Duncan to a 25-25 peel.
Bonner carded a magnificent seven at his third end to skip Jack Macnab, AJ Knight and Stuart Roseburgh into an 8-1 lead then led 16-9 and 17-15 before slipping to a 26-18 defeat from A Coltart.
McDougall and his rink of Paul Innes, Arron Clinkscales and Kevin McDougall were rocked back on their heels at 14-3 down and never quite got to grips in a 26-17 defeat from D Jess.