CHAMPION duo Sharon Leitch and Lorraine Malloy brought festive cheer to Balbardie Indoor Bowling Club by reaching the final stages of the Scottish Four-Bowl Pairs Championship.
The Balbardie top-notchers have a great record as they are the defending champions and previously captured the golden crown in 2006 so are bidding to achieve what would be a fabulous treble when they take to the rink at Coatbridge on March 31.
The Leitch/Malloy partnership paraded their skills in the playdown action last weekend at East Lothian IBC and came through a tough opening challenge in the prelim round with the 23-16 scalp of their East Fife counterparts.
Teviotdale provided the opposition in the first round proper but played second fiddle as Balbardie marched on with a 21-16 victory that set up a second round clash with Headwell, Dunfermline.
Malloy skipped Leitch to a commanding 27-15 triumph that raised expectations of another successful assault on the title and the defending champions duly delivered with a spectacular 27-7 victory over Falkirk in the section final.
Meanwhile junior caps Jenifer Richardson and Lisa Barrett carried the West Lothian IBC banner at the same venue but suffered disappointment in the shape of a 20-17 exit to Tweedbank in the prelim round.
The semi final line at Coatbridge will feature Leitch and Malloy against Ann Marie Fletcher and Cathy Houston of Paisley while Leanne Furye and Caroline Ruxton of Arbroath tackle Stacey Laidlaw and Carol Ashby of Midlothian.
The Gents version of the Scottish Four-Bowl Pairs Championship also took place last weekend but in a disappointing luck of the draw situation it paired West Lothian against Balbardie in the prelim round action at Midlothian IBC.
Junior caps Cameron Greer and Calum Logan carried the banner for West Lothian while Ian Drysdale and Ewan Shearer flew the flag for Balbardie and the result went in the 25-11 favour of the domestic champions of the Inveralmond Stadium.
The Greer/Logan partnership then found their nerve tested to the limits as they edged a 21-20 thriller over Falkirk in the first round proper and that brought them head to head with East Fife in the section semi final.
The East Fife challenge was a formidable one in the hands of Chris Stein and full cap international star Wayne Hogg and they played exceptionally well to inflict a 20-12 defeat on the young West Lothian champions.
East Fife went on to beat Chris Downie and Colin Hutchison of Bainfield, 26-17 in the section final and will next play Hugh McAvoy and Tom Simpson of Cumbernauld in the semi final action at Coatbridge.
The other qualifiers for the last four stage of the event are Norman Barker and Mike Stepney of Elgin and Alex Adrain and Paul Foster of Prestwick.
Meanwhile on the domestic front at the West Lothian IBC, the final of the Senior Triples played at the Inveralmond Stadium, Livingston, on Monday, developed into a nail-biting climax over a hard fought 12-end confrontation.
Alex Buchan skipped Bill Tait and Bill Gorrie into a 10-6 lead when carding a 3 at end 9 but just managed to hold on by their fingertips as opponents Campbell Gray, Brian Holloran, and George Marshall produced a 1, 1, 1 finish to 9.