Chartered accountant Kathryn O’Donnell, legal secretary Mandy O’Donnell and medical receptionist Anna Anderson, all from Edinburgh, will combine their indoor bowling skills in search of title glory in the final stages of the Scottish Championships being played at Fraserburgh this weekend.
The talented trio represent the Bainfield IBC banner in the Triples and, having battled their way through to the last-four stage, make the long journey north holding strong hopes of bringing the national title back to the Hutchison Crossway stadium for the first time.
And it is an extra dimension of incentive that the O’Donnell sisters-in-law are bidding to emulate the achievement of Kathryn’s husband and Mandy’s brother, Paul, who skipped Bainfield to successive gents title wins in 2009 and 2010.
It goes without saying, however, that the challenge facing the Bainfield trio is a massive one, starting with stiff opposition in the semi-final from Ann Lloyd, Pat Casey and Linda Fleming of Cumbernauld.
Given the experience of big occasions gained from the number of junior caps on the CVs of Kathryn (12) and Mandy (25), plus Anna Anderson being a prominent skip in Bainfield’s recent Scottish Cup run to the semi-final stage, the starting odds will favour them to reach the final.
“We won’t be taking anything for granted as it is how you perform on the day that counts, but rest assured we do travel with a positive attitude and a hope that we produce our best levels of form,” said Kathryn.
The other semi-final features Linda Harper, Marjory McDougall and Margaret Brown, of Garioch (Inverurie), against the probable title favourites from Ardrossan, namely Kathleen Souden, Maryanne Cooper and 21-times capped Michelle Cooper.
The East Lothian banner will be present in the gents’ 4 Bowl Pairs, with the “garden county support” holding high expectations that two of their leading lights in Jamie Higgins and Derek Oliver can bring a fourth title success to the Meadowmill Stadium.
The partnership reached the final in 2011 and with Oliver an impressive skip at international level, the EL champions have what it takes to go one step better. However, a huge test in the semi-final pitches them against defending champion Paul Foster.
Foster – a one-time member of EL – represents the Prestwick IBC banner with a new partner in the shape of Craig Lindsay, while the other semi-final features Danny McCormick and Bryan Stillie, of Stirling, against George Milne and Mike Stephen, of Aberdeen.
West Lothian IBC target national crowns in two disciplines with the banner represented in both the gents Triples and the Fours.
The star-studded trio of Calum Logan, Thomas Mann and Neil Speirs and the rink of Bryan Cooper, James Speirs, Mann and Neil Speirs will be sharply focused on etching the WL name on the silverware for a second and third time respectively.