East LOTHIAN’S Jamie Higgins and Derek Oliver proved to be in great form, notching four excellent wins to book themselves a place in the semi-finals of the indoor bowls Scottish Pairs Championship at Fraserburgh in March.
The duo were in action at the Whiteinch venue in Glasgow and played superbly to survive tough challenges from the representatives of Coatbridge, West of Scotland, Blantyre, and Bainfield.
The competition is a pathway to the glamour stage of the 4 Bowl Championship that Higgins and Oliver have experienced before having reached the final in 2011 where they lost out to brothers Ryan and Darren Burnett of Arbroath.
“We are nursing a strong ambition to go one better and land the title on this occasion but national crowns don’t fall into your lap and I see that our path into the final is blocked by defending champion Paul Foster and his new partner Craig Lindsay so tough challenges lie ahead of us,” said Oliver.
Tough challenges were met and overcome in the playdown stage with Higgins/Oliver surviving a rigorous test in the prelim round to beat their Coatbridge opposition, 23-20.
West of Scotland provided the first round examination of the skills and determination of the East Lothian duo and the stars from the Meadowmill stadium passed with flying colours to win 26-14.
The East Lothian challengers then faced a strong and lively Blantyre challenge which they were relived to edge a 21-20.
Bainfield stars Craig Moss and Paul O’Donnell have already won two national triples titles – with Craig Paterson – and were fiercely competitive in their bid to etch their name on the Pairs silverware but the polish was in the hands of Higgins/Oliver who put a 17-14 shine on their hard earned victory.
West Lothian IBC were also in action at Whiteinch with a strong partnership in the shape of young caps Cameron Greer and Calum Logan but their challenge was short lived as they made a 19-17 exit to West of Scotland in the prelim round.
Bainfield played host to a section that raised hopes of a strong challenge from Portobello stars Gordon Bold and Andrew Caldwell but they were soon 15-5 down in their prelim and made a 28-17 exit to David Duncan and Jim Roxburgh of Headwell.
Midlothian entered the scene at the first round stage with high hopes that high profile brothers Billy and David Peacock would produce some exciting magic, however they slumped to a 23-13 defeat from R Nichol and Kenny Johnstone of Tweedbank.
The last four line up reads: Aberdeen v Stirling and East Lothian v Prestwick.