The once mighty and much feared West Lothian IBC team of gents super stars find themselves in the unaccustomed role of underdogs when they resume their campaign in the A section of the Premier League with a visit to undefeated table toppers Falkirk this Saturday
(West Lothian won three of their magnificent seven national title triumphs as recently as 2012/13/14 since when Falkirk have come to the fore as finalists in 2016 and 2017 and were Scottish Cup champions in 2017).
A disappointing three wins from six leaves WL a daunting six points adrift of a vibrant and confident home team bidding to make it seven out of seven however two wins on the bounce will surely have lifted the spirits of the visitors.
Four WL players have been named in the International Trial match being held at Auchinleck on Sunday and that recognition by the Scottish Selectors will sharpen the focus of Bryan Cooper, James Speirs, Mark Allison, and 2014 commonwealth games gold medal winner Neil Speirs.
All four are present against Falkirk in a West Lothian line up that reads, Rink 1. Bryan Cooper, Ian Drysdale ( C ), Des Hagart, and Neil Speirs. Rink 2. George Sneddon, Jamie Aitken, Mark Allison, and Craig Moss. Rink 3. Darren Pearce, Raymond logan, Cameron Greer, and Calum logan. Rink 4. Richard Mark, Connor McKendrick, Gary Orr, and James Speirs.
The busy reserve bench is occupied by, Blair Mackie, Jamie Edwards, Nathan McKendrick, Alan McCormick, and Dougie Mitchell.
The gents of Balbardie have been blowing hot and cold in their Division 1A campaign with two wins and a peel from six games leaving them flirting with the dreaded relegation zone. Home environment advantage against third placed Coatbridge this Saturday presents the Bathgate based team with a golden opportunity to stay safe as foot of the table clubs Headwell and Dundee face tough visits to second placed Cumbernauld and leaders Fraserburgh, respectively. No team selection had been announced by the club at the time of writing.
West Lothian ladies have an idle weekend in the East Premier League while Balbardie in Division 1 East look to have it tough with an away visit to league leaders Bainfield.
Balbardie had home advantage in yesterdays (Wed) high octane derby clash against their West Lothian neighbours in the East B section of the Seniors League. WL went into the battle as paper favourites with 12 points to the 4 of their rivals.
Last weekends play in the gents National Triples saw the Balbardie trio of Walter McDougall, Mark Bonar, and Sandy McDougall produce an encouraging first round win over Berwickshire at Abbeyview, Dunfermline.
But failure to re-produce the form of their 20-15 triumph resulted in 25-7 exit to an East fife trio that went on to claim a place in the semi finals at Arbroath on the weekend of March 30 when they will be joined by Galleon, East Kilbride, and Aberdeen.
The battle hardened WL trio of Stuart Johnston, Craig Moss, and Mark Allison failed to achieve lift and crashed out to a first round defeat (21-9) to Glasgow.
Play in the ladies version of the national triples saw WL trio Liz Boyle, Ann Muirhead, and Jennifer Sneddon edged out 15-13 by Falkirk in their prelim battle at Abbeyview while Betty Johnston, Kim Ross, and Pat Purdie of Balbardie made an agonising 21-19 exit to first round opponents East fife.