THE end of 2012 saw the Borders Pool League Singles and Doubles Qualifiers played, with few shocks arising.
In the doubles, holders Scott Simpson and Scott Bowers had to fight tooth and nail to go through while David Richardson and Ally Purves won a tough heat at the Ship.
Other contenders making it through to the final stages include Hawick pairs Rob Shiel and John Jardine, Patrick Wallace and Jim Hume and Ian McCombe and Ian Middlemas.
In the singles, favourites Steve Thomson and Ian McCombe cruised through, joined by golden oldies Stan Thomson and Scott Bowers and a selection of up-and-coming challengers including Terry Storrie, Jim Hume, Kev McMinn and Stuart Farrell.
Some tricky ties in both finals could be in evidence with a good standard represented in both.
Border Pool starts a new challenge this year with its own area, namely Region 6 of Scotland under the Scottish Eightball Pool Federation (SEPF) banner, providing a great springboard for all the Borders players to raise their game to another level.
Border League secretary Bowers told TheSouthern: “The Border League has some tremendous under-21s who are more than capable of stepping up to challenge for national places, along with the usual faces who have brought success over the past few years on the national scene.
“It’s a great achievement that we already have three internationalists representing the Borders at present, considering only four have reached the pinnacle in total.
Currently Bowers, Simpson and McCombe are representing the region, with Craig Reid returning to some of the form that earned him seven caps.
Bowers told TheSouthern: “All in all, Borders Pool is on an upward trend with things looking even better for 2013.
“Hopefully, even more players will break through to challenge the top boys this year.”