Midlothian were pushed hard by Highland before claiming a 131-122 victory in their Hamilton Trophy quarter-final clash at Carron & Carronshore.
Highland – runners-up in the North Section – made their presence strongly felt with an even 3-3 share of winning rinks and were left frustrated that their 66-60 supremacy over the 126 ends wasn’t rewarded by a place in the semi-finals.
Highland also came out on top in two of the three phases with a 47-43 capture of the first backed up by a 41-38 edge on the third. However, Midlothian laid the foundations of match victory with a commanding 50-34 dominance of the second.
Midlothian continued their undefeated run in the 2017 campaign thanks to wins delivered on the rinks skipped by Colin Bonner, Colin Walker and Scott Briggs that covered the minor setbacks inflicted on Graeme Archer, David Peacock and Danny McDougall.
Briggs (12-2) and Walker (11-2) were the key to that game-changing middle phase while an 8-1 contribution from Bonner on the race to the line helped repel the renewed charge of the Highlanders.
Bonner first caught the eye with a purple spell patch of 1, 2, 3, (4), 4, 2, (2), 3 to skip Jack Macnab, AJ Knight and Stuart Roseburgh into an 18-12 lead after 12 ends before his finishing run of 3, 1, (1), 1, 1, 1, 1 clinched a 26-17 win over M Thompson.
Walker lost a confidence-testing six at his second end but quickly reclaimed it at the fourth and added another for good measure at the 11th to lead 19-12 then went on to skip Willie Rankin, Lindsay Plenderleith and team captain Ramsay Blair to a 28-10 win over G Thom.
Briggs added 2, 2, 4, 2 to skip Andy Wilton, Steven Robertson and John Stevenson into an 18-11 lead after 14 ends. Even the loss of a five at the last couldn’t prevent him sealing a 23-19 win over S Cruickshank.
Archer slipped from 16-7 up to a 21-20 defeat from K Beaton, Peacock was pipped 19-17 by G Hepburn and McDougall lost 26-17 to S Wyllie.