Balbardie have safely negotiated the first hurdle of two in their bid to achieve indoor bowls premier league status and their win over Division 1E champions Ardrossan at Coatbridge was by a commanding 34 shots (101-67).
The teams were unknown quantities to each other but the Ardrossan form looked the more impressive with nine wins out ten in their league campaign however it turned out that Balbardie (1C) were the dominant force and controlled the flow of the match. Ardrossan did inflict damage on one of the four rinks and it was significant at the 19 shot expense of the Balbardie rink skipped by Pat Purdie however substantial wins for Margo Duff, Delia Flannigan, and Sharon Leitch kept the Bathgate based side on top. “We found ourselves being pressed on occasions in the early stages of the match but other than for Pat outcomes kept going our way and for the most part were able to operate in a comfort zone that did surprise us”, reflected spokesperson Margo Duff.
“The running condition of the carpet was heavy and that was an unexpected challenge to both teams but we got our heads around it and just soldiered on to produce an overall team performance that was pleasing”, she added. Balbardie won all three seven-end phases of the match, getting off to an encouraging start with the 36-27 capture of the first, then accelerating into a double-figure match lead with a 33-20 domination of the second that saw Duff excel with an inspired 14-1 contribution. Consolidation was the name of the game on the third phase and with no risks being taken Balbardie were rock solid – even Purdie held her own – to win it 32 – 20. Ardrossan showed signs of menace on end eight with a 4-0 cleansweep reducing their match deficit to 5 shots however Balbardie answered that challenge with a 7-0 reply led by a count of 4 for Flannigan. Duff emerged the highest flyer for Balbardie having skipped Betty Johnstone, Gillian Hamilton, and Morven Shearer to a run of 3, 3, 1, 1, 5 to lead 13-3 after six ends then a purple patch spell from 13-5 saw the rink add 21 shots without reply and go on to score a 34-11 win over Kathleen Souden. Flannigan also opened strongly, skipping Christine Smellie, Lyn Sinclair, and Margaret Scally into a 14-6 lead after nine ends then answering the loss of a 4 with a blitz run of 1, 2, 1, 3, 2, 5 that powered them to 28-10 en route to wrapping up a 31-14 victory. Leitch settled her rink down with a count of 4 on the opening end then included a super count of 6 on end 16 as she skipped Catherine Lochran, Jean Stevenson, and Kim Ross to a comfortable 25-12 triumph. Purdie and her front-three of Maria Adam, Helen Keys, and Josi Bachini suffered severe discomfort as a 5-14 scoreline after eight ends collapsed to 6-25 after 14 but they managed a 5-5 share on the run and lost 30-11 to Janice McDougall. Balbardie face their final hurdle in the shape of Division 1D champions Coatbridge at Falkirk on Sunday March 15.