Mum helps Mandy skip her rink to last four in Fours

Mandy O'Donnell
Mandy O'Donnell
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Mandy O’Donnell of Bainfiield IBC skipped her front-three of Heather Stoddart, Kate McVey and Anna Anderson through to the semi-finals of the ladies’ indoor bowls Scottish Fours Championship.

The domestic champions of the Hutchison Crossway Stadium hit top form to chalk up four victories in the playdown section staged at East Lothian IBC over the weekend.

Wins over Glasgow, Tweedbank, Headwell, and defending champions Carol Condie, Joyce Archibald, Mhairi Buchanan, and Janette Bray of Coatbridge, made it a memorable occasion for O’Donnell and her rink.

O’Donnell – who recently captained Junior Scotland in the Home International series – is no stranger to parading her skills on the bigger stage having earned three full and 28 Under-25 caps, but her rink is less familiar with reaching the final stages of national competitions.

“When you see the defending champions in your line of fire and know the formbook isn’t in your favour then the mindset is one of giving it your best shot and hoping for a good run so to play them and beat them was truly fantastic for us,” reflected O’Donnell.

“I can’t say we entered the section final against them with high expectations so we had to pinch ourselves when we entered end 11 holding an 11-5 lead having performed out of our skins.”

Coatbridge – who had edged a 17-16 nail-biter over strong East Fife opposition in their previous match – did show signs of menace by closing to 14-11 by end 15.

End 16 developed as a likely game-changer for Coatbridge with a reward of five shots looming up as a result of a solid build up of the head.

“My Mum (Heather Stoddart) was heavy with her opening bowl but did get a nick on the jack before finishing up just short of the ditch and little did we know at that time that it was all to be a blessing in disguise,” described O’Donnell.

“By the time it was my turn to play the route out of trouble was for me to attempt to ditch the jack with a strike and thankfully I did just that with the added bonus that Mum’s opening bowl was perfectly placed to win the shot.”

It was a great psychological boost to lead 15-11 and not crossed 14-16, but the match still had five nervy ends to complete, but, to Bainfield’s credit, they kept their composure to win 18-14.

Bainfield launched their championship campaign with a 27-18 win over Glasgow in the prelim round but the final score masks the drama of O’Donnell and Co forced to make a spectacular recovery from 13-2 down.

Tweedbank provided the opposition in the first round proper but the Borders club trailed all the way as Bainfield delivered a strong performance to triumph 21-10.

Bainfield’s prospects of progress looked shaky at 12-8 down to Headwell in their second round clash but they answered that pressure with a storming run of 4, 2, 1, 1, 4 to win 20-12.