Stacey LAIDLAW has carried the Midlothian banner into the semi-final stage of the ladies national singles championship – and the junior cap took the scalp of five-time champion Julie Forest of Teviotdale in the process.
Forest, a player of excellent reputation, was bidding to win the title for a fourth time in a row and was going great guns to reach the quarter-finals stage of the playdown action at Arbroath but bowed out to a 21-18 defeat from Laidlaw.
Laidlaw was playing the role of a super sub, having stepped into the event as a late replacement for world stage star Carol Ashby, as the Midlothian club champion was taken ill.
Laidlaw opened her account in the competition with a 21-15 win over internationalist Joyce Dickey of Teviotdale in the prelim round, then she pressed on from 11-9 to beat Melanie Cruickshank of Elgin 21-13.
Host club champion Leanne Furye of Arbroath looked to be a big threat in the second round, but Laidlaw cruised to a 21-7 win to set up the clash with the holder of the title.
The Edinburgh challenge turned out to be an exciting one, with Portobello champion Harriet Munro putting up a great show to reach the quarter-finals. However, she slipped from 7-8 to make a 21-12 exit to experienced Lynne Stein of East Fife.
Munro hadn’t fancied her chances much against international legend Jean Sykes but secured a memorable 21-16 victory.
Pat Clarke of Garioch provided the second-round opposition and in another thrilling climax, Munro delighted her support with a 21-18 victory.
Kathryn O’Donnell represented the Bainfield banner and she opened in the first round with a 21-18 win over full cap Lorna Cameron of Whiteinch, having shown great skill and spirit to recover from 11-3 down.
O’Donnell then looked a good bet to reach the quarters when having Val O’Neill of Prestwick at her mercy at 18-14 then 20-17, but the killer instinct deserted her and she lost 21-20.
Balbardie champion Lorraine Malloy made a disappointing 21-9 exit to Maureen Morrison of Perth in the prelim round and was soon joined on the sidelines by Lisa Barrett of West Lothian, who lost 21-13 to Laura Hall of East Kilbride.
East Lothian champion Norma Bauld had a walkover into the second round, where she too lost to Hall, 21-9