Bainfield ladies experienced a Heartbreak Hotel scenario in the shape of an agonising single shot defeat inflicted upon them by West Lothian in a tension filled climax to the Division 1C national league clash at Livingston.
West Lothian managed to steal an 81-80 victory over their Edinburgh visitors and it was delivered in dramatic circumstances via a last end count of five by Ann Clark against the Bainfield rink of Annette Wilson, Davina Crawford, Betty Eaton and skip Marion Dickson.
Dickson faced a head with three shots again her when taking to the mat to deliver the first of her two bowls and elected for a draw to kill approach; but such inch perfect stuff under intense pressure is a challenging skill. Her on track effort just pulled up short enough to change nothing allowing Clark to hike up the pressure by adding a fourth shot. “It was my choice to strike with my second bowl and with the jack my target felt happy about its direction only for my heart to sink when missing it by a whisker – it was a stunning blow”, reflected Dickson.
“I have had nightmares about it since but my success rate generally with strikes is in the high zone so I feel from a tactical point of view my choice of stroke was sound enough especially as my first bowl had fallen short.” The pulse rates were still racing in both camps of course as the master scoreboard was now flashing an 80-80 peel setting Clark the nerve-wracking task of drawing a match-winning fifth shot with the final bowl of the match- which she did in great style. The phase scoring gives an accurate picture of a battle royal with West Lothian edging the first seven ends, 29-28, then adding the second, 27-16; but put under pressure by a 36-25 fight back from Bainfield on the third.
Wins on the Bainfield rinks skipped by Anna Anderson and Rita Reid combined to contribute a plus of 12 shot to the visitors cause but they were just touched off by the defeat of Anne Watson and Dickson. Anderson raised spirits with a run of 4, 2, 4, 1 to lead 22-14 and went on to beat Lisa Barrett, 24-17 while Reid promised much with an exciting 11-1 lead but had to settle for an 18-13 win over Jean Brown. Dickson added 3, 1, 5 to cross 18-17 before piped 23-21 by Clark while Watson lost 28-17 to Jennifer Sneddon.
Midlothian ladies prospects of closing the four-point gap between them and leaders Auchinleck in the B Division of the premier league are a touch remote but the stars from The Dalkeith Stadium showed excellent form to beat foot of the table Falkirk by 49 shots, 98-49. Winning performances were delivered by returning international legends Jeanette Conlan and Sandra McLeish with support in great style provided by Annie Rutherford and Shona Johnstone. “It is always pleasing when all four rinks win in front of the home support and our fourth win in seven keeps us on the fringe of the main title playoff picture and keeps us a healthy six points clear of the relegation zone”, said Johnstone.
Midlothian declared their intent with a commanding 35-13 domination of the first seven-end phase then escalated their match lead to 32 with a 33-23 return o the second and confirmed overall supremacy with a 30-13 capture of the third. Rutherford basked in the limelight of a 23 shot victory having skipped Dorothy Millar, Janette McVicar, and Annette Wilson from 11-7 to 30-7 with a super-charged finish of 2, 2, 2, 1, 3, 3, 3, 1, 2 against Seona Black. Conlan converted a 13-0 lead into a 23-8 win over Linda Crate while Johnstone beat Margaret Burt, 25-17, and McLeish beat Pat Johnston, 20-17.