The Midlothian banner will be paraded in the national finals stage of The Scottish indoor bowls Fours Championship at Falkirk on the weekend of April 2 and 3 with the Dalkeith stadium rink of Ian Forbes, Ronnie Duncan, Billy Peacock, and Colin Walker emerging king pins from their section qualifying action.
Walker and Co dominated the scene at East Fife IBC over the weekend and enthused their support by rattling off superb wins over Teviotdale, Abbeyview, Bainfield, and last season’s national finalists East Lothian. Meeting East Lothian in the section final always looked likely to be the toughest test and so it proved but Midlothian gained an early edge and their 12-5 lead provided a cushion that was traded upon to get Walker and Co over the winning line with a 20-15 score.
“Mutch of the match was really finely balanced and in all honesty what kept the scales tipped slightly in our favour was that the rub of the green went with us but not outrageously so and I reckon we deserved our win” reflected Peacock. Peacock is particularly excited about making it through to the semi final stage as it fires up his ambition to go on and emulate his title success back in 2002 when he played third to his brother David and a front-end of Paul Conlan and Scott Matthews. Having blown a good lead over West Lothian to lose last season’s national final the East Lothian rink of Andy Jeffrey, Willie Wood MBE, Scott Kennedy, and Billy Mellors were hopeful of making amends.
“Everything seemed to be going to plan with wins over Coatbridge and Perth to reach the section final but we knew it was going to be a battle royal against our neighbour club Midlothian and it was disappointing to come off second best”, said Kennedy later. Mellors and Co did have a sniff of a chance at the final end where a potential match winning count of six was an enticing prospect but Walker and Co realised the danger and the skip executed the wise decision to bullet two or three opposition bowls out of the head – thereby robbing Mellors of his opportunity.
Midlothian launched their campaign with a 33-10 prelim round blitz of the Teviotdale rink skipped by AK Kyle having carded two fives and a four to lead 14-1 after four ends. Abbeyview were next to bite the dust with the Andrew Kennedy skipped Dunfermline rink crushed 22-8 after Walker and Co stretched from 12-6 to 20-6 with a purple patch run of 2, 3, 1, 2. Midlothian’ next challenge came in the shape of the Bainfield rink comprising Chris Downie, John McDermott, Colin Hutchison, and Gavin Smith who had shown promise with a 26-11 win over Berwickshire and a 22-18 triumph over Tweedbank. The prize was a place in the section final and it was claimed by Midlothian’s handsome 22-9 victory with Walker and Co leading 8-3 then answering menace at 10-8 with a run of 5, 2, 1, 1, that stretched them into a 19-8 lead.
As coupon busters go the exit of West Lothian in the prelim round of the indoor bowls Scottish Fours Championship at East Fife IBC was a shocker of stunning proportion as the star studded rink of Bryan Cooper, James Speirs, Thomas Mann, and Neil Speirs were the defending champions. Speirs (Neil) and Mann stand fourth and fifth in the national ranking list while fellow cap Cooper is 16th and Speirs (James) 43rd ; but their reputation was trashed by the Abbeyview rink of Andy McGeorge, Nigel Walker, Ali McIntyre, and Andrew Kennedy who crushed the super stars, 28-6.
West Lothian opened with a single but then conceded 5, 2, 1, 2, 2, 4, 4 to be challenged – unanswered – by a 20-1 deficit after eight ends and the reigning champions were dethroned after 16 of the scheduled 21-ends. Abbeyview’s time in the limelight was ended by their 22-8 exit in the first round proper by the Mdlothian rink skipped by Colin Walker that went on to win the section and join Aberdeen, Lanarkshire, and Prestwick in the Last Four line up. Meanwhile the Balbardie IBC rink skipped by Ewan Shearer and competing in the Glasgow IBC section made a crushing 31-19 exit to Inverclyde in the prelim round.