Bainfield champion Mandy O’Donnell’s attempt to capture the indoor bowls Scottish Singles Crown ended in the second round at the playdown action at Arbroath over the weekend, having opened with two encouraging performances.
O’Donnell was defeated by defending champion Leslie Doig of East Fife, who went on to further enhance the quality of that performance by crushing Fiona Kerr of Lanarkshire 21-3 to book a place in the semi-finals at Paisley on January 23.
Doig raced into a 12-2 lead after eight ends against O’Donnell on Sunday morning and it continued to look like curtains for the Edinburgh challenger when standing 16-5 down after 12.
O’Donnell then hit a purple patch, carding 1, 2, 2, 2, (1), 2 as she pulled the score back to 14-17, but Doig regained her composure and three ends later clinched a 21-15 victory.
“I felt in good shape to tackle a test that I knew was going to be tough,” said O’Donnell, “but I found it difficult to get shots onto the card over the opening ends and a ten shot deficit really left me with a mountain to climb.”
O’Donnell’s opening challenge in the preliminary round was a tough one in the shape of budding East Lothian star Dee Hoggan and it seemed the pendulum had swung against the more seasoned campaigner when Hoggan transformed a 12-5 deficit into a 16-14 lead.
O’Donnell then stepped up to the plate and delivered a storming run of 1, 2, 2, (1), 2 that triggered a winning 21-17 salute in 22-ends.
The first round-proper pitched O’Donnell against Audrey Stewart of Forfar and although being held at 7-7 after nine ends, the Bainfield champion moved to 16 with a blitz run of 2, 2, 2, 1, 1, 1 and went on to win 21-10 in 20-ends.
Meanwhile, Lorraine Malloy of Balbardie IBC produced a tremendous performance in her prelim-round tie and included a powerful 3, 3, 4 finish as she cruised to a 21-2 win in just 10- ends against Alison Strachan of Cowal.
Malloy’s reward was a first-round tilt at Leslie Doig, who had opened with a 21-14 win over Helen Dobson of Paisley, and sent out a further strong signal of intent as she cashed in on a substantial 15-4 lead to beat her Commonwealth Games opponent 21-13 in 20 ends.
The Midlothian challenge was in the capable hands of 18-times capped Gaynor Duncan and her Dalkeith support cheered a commanding performance to beat June Dowell of Stirling, 21-6, in 14 ends.
Duncan failed to do herself justice in the first-round proper and crashed out to a disappointing 21-7 defeat in 18 ends by June Marshall of Glasgow.
There was an extra dimension of interest to the West Lothian IBC challenge, as 80-year-old Jean Brown was thrust into the unexpected limelight of a national event in place of champion Claire Watson, who had beaten her at club level.
Brown didn’t survive her first-round tie, but put up a very bold show to lead Jean McFedries of Galleon 19-16, before running out of steam to concede 1, 3, 1 and suffer a 21-19 defeat in a stamina testing 26 ends.
Doig is joined in the semi-final line up by her East Fife club-mate Celia Smith, Lorna Cameron of Whiteinch and Caroline Brown of Blantyre.