Leitch all set for national semi-finals

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Sharon LEITCH will carry the Balbardie IBC banner into the semi-finals stage of the 
National Singles bowls championship, with the club champion in great form to reel off four excellent wins in the playdown action at Inverclyde.

Leitch has an impressive CV at national level, having captured the Scottish 4 Bowl Pairs title on two occasions with Lorraine Malloy, and she has nine international caps to her name.

Her prelim tie turned into a dawdle as a consequence of hitting the ground running to launch her bid towards title glory with a runaway 21-2 win over the luckless Jan Cowan of Irvine in a super-quick ten ends.

Annette Christie of Dumbarton, with 60 caps to her name, looked an awesome challenger in the first round proper but Leitch kept her focus on the task at hand and made an exciting start to lead 12-5 before coming under pressure at 14-14. Pressure though is something Leitch can cope with and the confident Balbardie champion cheered up her watching support with a spectacular run of 2, 2, 2 and 1 to hit 21 on the 23rd end.

Leitch retuned to the venue suitably refreshed from the previous day’s exertions and lined up against budding Junior Cap star Dee Hoggan of East Lothian, who made the brighter start to lead 12-6.

Just three ends later though, it was 12-12, with Leitch catching up with a hat-trick of twos then peels were called at 14-14 before the Balbardie champion caught fire from 15-14 down to with a scorching run of 1,1,1,1 and 3 to win 21-15 in 24 ends.

Leitch’s path to the showpiece stage of the national 
finals at Falkirk on the weekend of January 12/13 wasn’t about to get any easier with her path blocked by 33-times capped Sandra McLeish of Midlothian.

Leitch breezed into a confidence-boosting 9-3 lead only to be reminded of the qualities of her opponent as McLeish fought back well to cross 10-9 then lead 13-10.

It was a testing time for Leitch but she came up with the perfect answer in the shape of a battling run of 2, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 1 and 1 to hit 21 in 23 ends and earn her place in the last four.

Five-times champion Julie Forrest (Teviotdale) is the opposition to Leitch in her semi-final with Anne Bernard of Abbeyview and Michelle Cooper of Ardrossan in the other head to head.

Junior cap Lisa Barrett of West Lothian IBC was also competing at Inverclyde and she beat Christine Condy of Whiteinch 21-19 in a marathon 28-end prelim tie but then went out 21-15 to Caroline Ruxton of Arbroath. Alison McDougall of Portobello opened with a 21-15 win over Sarah Gowans of Buchan but then made a 21-7 exit to McLeish while Anna Anderson of Bainfield lost 21-15 to Hoggan in the prelim round.