Local bowlers fall at final hurdle in Nationals

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Strong title-winning bids from Balbardie IBC in the Ladies Pairs and West Lothian IBC in the Gents Pairs both came to grief with disappointing last-hurdle falls at the indoor bowls Scottish Championships at Aberdeen.

The Balbardie partnership of Sharon Leitch and Lorraine Craig had celebrated title success in the discipline on two previous occasions and produced an encouraging semi-final performance to beat their Dumbarton challengers 23-12.

The other semi-final featured Sandra McLeish and Stacey McDougall of Midlothian – both previous title winners with different partners – against their fellow international caps Leanne Furye and Caroline Ruxton of Arbroath.

Midlothian edged a 10-7 lead after eight ends but suffered a scoring dip to drop 22-11 behind after 15 ends then, despite scoring at five of the six remaining ends, they made a 23-18 exit.

Balbardie suffered a nightmare experience on the first end in the final with Arbroath carding a super six that heralded a catastrophic collapse to 21-3 down after 13 ends.

Arbroath duly clinched a handsome 24-10 victory that triggered a title double for Furye and Ruxton, who had earlier been part of the rink that captured the Fours title with wins over Blantyre (29-13) and Abbeyview (24-7).

West Lothian hopes of title glory in the Gents Pairs soared when Thomas Mann and Calum Logan delivered a strong performance to crush their fellow caps Robert Gordon and Robert Grant of Lanarkshire 21-10 in their semi-final.

The imposing figure of recently-crowned World Singles champion Paul Foster MBE and his lead Craig Lindsay suggested a hard-fought final was in store and, after 11 ends, the outcome hung in the balance with WL very much in touch at 8-7 down. But a blank spell of four ends proved costly for Mann and Logan with the loss of 4, 1, 4, 1 leaving them a mountain to climb at 18-7 down and, with the challenge proving to be beyond them, they suffered a 20-9 defeat.

Tweedbank beat Elgin 20-9 in the final of the Ladies Triples.

• THE high-flying youth section of East Lothian IBC have followed up their recent capture of the National Top Ten crown by retaining the East of Scotland Junior League Top Ten title.

• BALBARDIE IBC failed in their bid to reach the final of the Central District Top Six with the Bathgate-based side winning the Singles 21-13 but making a 4-2 exit to Alloa in the semi-finals played at Dalkeith.

Wins on the Singles/Pairs/Triples saw Abbeyview beat Perth 6-0 in the other semi-final and the defending champions will have home advantage against Alloa in the final on Saturday, April 8.