JACKIE Lockhart and her Aberdeen team of Debbie Knox, Wendy Bell, and

Judith Stobbie will defence the Scottish Ladies Curling Championship

title at Ayr through the second weekend in January. Lockhart, along with

seven other teams, will be attempting to finish in the top four and

thereby progress to the finals in Kirkcaldy a month later.

The line-up at Ayr will not make it easy for the defending champions.

Gillian Barr and her reigning world junior champion side look set to do

well at senior level this season, in spite of the fact that her team are

still eligible to win the Scottish junior title for a record third

successive year.

Greenacres' Marion Miller returns to competitive curling after a year

out and will be trying to repeat her l987 championship success. Lorna

Muirhead (Kirkcaldy), a semi-finalist last year and always in

contention, also could cause an upset to the Lockhart team.

The championship, sponsored this year for the first time by the Royal

Bank of Scotland, has attracted 16 entries, with the other regional

play-down going on over the same weekend at the Livingston arena.

Kirsty Hay, of Perth, is favourite to top that qualifying section. Hay

reached the semi-finals of the recent European championships and has

been beaten finalist for the past two years.

Christine Cannon (formerly Allison) has twice represented Scotland at

world championships, in l989 in Milwaukee and two years later at

Winnipeg. Cannon along with Perth's Hazel Erskine and Shiela Lindsay

(Ayr) are the likely teams to progress to the final stages. Draw:

AYR -- J Lockhart (Aberdeen), L Muirhead (Kirkcaldy), C Ross (Gogar

Park), G Barr (Gogar Park), M Miller (Greenacres), J Pollock

(Lockerbie), S Kesley (Gogar Park), R Fisher (Auchenharvie).

LIVINGSTON -- K Hay (Perth), C Cannon (Stranraer), N Murdoch

(Lockerbie), H Erskine (Perth), S Lindsay (Ayr), C Brewster (Lockerbie),

M Ewart (Forfar), S Adams (Auchenharvie).