Balbardie IBC scored a headline win over hot favourites East Lothian at Tranent to snatch the qualifying honours in Division 1C of the ladies national leagues with the Bathgate based club leapfrogging the leaders with a surprise 80-74 victory.Read more
East Lothian’s single point lead over their chief rivals going into the last fixture of their section campaign was thought to be safely protected by the table-toppers undefeated record at The Meadowmill Stadium.But Balbardie produced a brilliant away performance that was driven by a splendid double-figure triumph for ex-cap Sharon Leitch and ably supported by hard fought single figure wins from the rinks skipped by Delia Flannigan and Margo Duff.
The pre-match morale of East Lothian was tested by the late absence of ace skip Nancy McNeil due to injury but her replacement Irene Gray produced the top result of the match in the shape of a spectacular 19 shot victory.“This defeat is certainly a massive blow to our ambition of making it through the qualifying process to reach premier league status and we were quietly confident of remaining undefeated at home but our form failed to reach its normal heights and we paid the ultimate price”, reflected team manager Sheena Currie.
Balbardie probably expected to be forced onto the back-foot from the off and so it proved although it took a 12-4 contribution from Irene Gray to earn EL a 29-26 edge on the first 7-end phase.The battle for supremacy soon turned into a tightrope affair however with an eye-catching 15-4 input from Sharon Leitch tipping the second phase scales in the 26-24 direction of Balbardie.The final push is expected to come from the home team so it is to the great credit of Balbardie that they coped with the pressures best and 8-1, and 8-2 contributions from Delia Flannigan and Leitch respectively gave the visitors a 28-21 supremacy on the race to the line.Leitch included a purple patch spell of 2, 2, 4, (2), 3, 4 to skip Catherine Lochran, Jean Stevenson, and Kim Ross into a 21-9 lead and the visitors swept to a significant 29-13 win over Jackie MC Farlane, Rosemary Mackintosh, Muriel Hamilton and Scotland cap Emma Brown.Flannigan carded shots at six of the final seven ends to keep her opposition at bay and skip Christine Smellie.Lynn Sinclair, and Margaret Scally to a 20-15 win over Margaret Devine, Jean Russell, Cathie Ward and Yvonne Veitch.Duff made a strong start to skip Betty Johnstone, Gillian Hamilton, and Ally Blagg into a 14-7 lead then defended well under growing pressure to score a 17-13 win over Megan Kivlin, Pat Turner, Maggie Thomson, and Janet Fairnie.
East Lothian were kept in the match picture by Irene Gray who stormed into an 11-1 lead then carried on to skip Margaret Murray, Irene Combe, and Gillian Mackintosh to a 33-19 win over Maria Adam, Nan Mitchell, Elise Millar, and Pat Purdie.West Lothian IBC edged a 63-62 thriller away to Bainfield while a Borders derby saw Tweedbank crush Teviotdale, 103-60.Final positions after 10 games – Balbardie 16, East Lothian 15, West Lothian 10, Teviotdale 7, Bainfield 6 (-20), Tweedbank 6 (-97).