Edinburgh curlers Gina Aitken and Bruce Mouat missed out on a fifth title in six years and a place at next spring’s World Championships following a surprise quarter-final defeat at the Scottish Mixed Doubles Championship in Aberdeen.
The defending champions won all five group matches to top Section Two, but the luck of the draw then paired them with Stirling couple Judith and Lee McCleary, who had scraped through in a tie-breaker but were Scottish champions in 2011 and 2014.
Aitken and Mouat trailed 4-1 before levelling with a three at the fourth end.
They then conceded a three at the fifth and were unable to repair the damage, eventually going down 8-5.
“It’s disappointing,” admitted Aitken. “We’ve not been lucky with draws this year, but you need to win the big, important games.”