STACEY LAIDLAW was in the last-chance saloon as she bid for the Scottish indoor bowls ladies junior singles title and the 25-year-old captured the coveted crown in great style at Fraserburgh.
The Midlothian ace travelled north in good form as she entered the event for the final time before she moves into the Ladies proper.
“It was now or never for me in the junior disciplines of the sport so that was a strong driver for me,” said Laidlaw.
“Having threatened to knock on the door back in the 2012 season, I was determined to deliver on this occasion.”
Laidlaw lined up against Blantyre’s Claire Walker in her semi-final and despite carding three singles to lead 3-0, the early battle for supremacy became balanced on a knife-edge at 5-5 after eight ends and 8-8 after 11.
It was Walker who broke the deadlock and impressively so with a purple-patch run of 1, 1, 1, 2, 1 that accelerated her into a 14-8 lead and, although Laidlaw arrested her slide with a couple of singles, she remained in bother at 15-10 down after 19 ends.
End 20 sparked a revival by Laidlaw and it was an encouraging one with a five end run of 1, 1, 1, 2, 1 edging her into a 16-15 lead. However, Walker retaliated with a couple of singles to regain the driving seat at 17-16 after 25 ends.
But Laidlaw answered that threat with a magical 3, 2 finish to clinch a 21-17 victory in 27 ends.
Meanwhile, the other semi-final saw Emma Brown of East Lothian come under early pressure to trail 13-5 and she slipped to a 21-11 defeat by Dumbarton’s Michelle Keenan in 19 ends.
So the final was a rerun of the 2012 semi-final and revenge for Laidlaw looked on the cards when she made a bright start that threatened to have her opponent rocking at 11-6 down.
But Keenan produced a sizzling run of 3, 2, 1 that pushed her into a 12-11 lead after 15 ends then singles were exchanged to 13-12.
Peels were called at 13-13 then end 19 produced a moment of major drama with Keenan holding two shots but losing a 4 to a brilliant jack-turning conversion from Laidlaw, who extended her spell of magic with a 2, 1 that stretched her to 20.
Laidlaw conceded a two on end 22 but triggered the title-winning salute with a single at the next to triumph 21-15.
It was the Midlothian star’s second national title having captured the 4Bowl Pairs crown in 2012 with Carol Ashby.
Earlier in the day, Laidlaw and fellow cap Sandra McLeish let the 2Bowl Pairs title slip from their grasp.
The Midlothian partnership had answered the 7-6 loss of the first set against Leanne Furye and Caroline Ruxton of Arbroath in the final with a runaway 10-1 capture of the second then led the deciding set 6-1 before slipping to a cruel 8-6 defeat.