Midlothian continue to fly high in the A section of the indoor bowls Premier League having completed a hat trick of opening wins in great style with defending champions Paisley the latest team to bite the dust at the hands of the Dalkeith stars.
Paisley had home carpet advantage and themselves were hunting a three-wins-in-a-row record however they almost suffered a total eclipse with Midlothian winning on three rinks and finishing peels on the other.Wins on the rinks skipped by Colin Walker, Billy Peacock, and Sandy (AJ) Knight plus a shared scoreline for David Peacock reflecting a tremendous 88-60 team performance under the captaincy of Ian Forbes. “It’s a dream start for us to have come out on top against three big guns in the shape of Blantyre, West Lothian, and Paisley and we don’t want that bubble to burst so my message to the lads is if we stay focused we can go on and deliver the title for the first time since 2011”, said team manager Frankie Gray.
Gray knows from past experience that it is early days with seven highly competitive fixtures still to fulfil but he reckons the early signs are strongly positive with excellent camaraderie driving inspirational levels of team spirit and high energy performances. “We are seeing games out far better and not folding or wobbling in the later stages of four hour games that can be energy sapping when put under pressure”, said Gray.
It was a pleasing factor for Gray that his team held the upper hand on all three phases and given that the undefeated holders of the title had home environment advantage to keep them suppressed from start to finish was quite a feat. Midlothian captured the first seven-ends, 29-24, with the spirits of the visitors raised by substantial early counts of four by Knight and David Peacock but specifically by a super six carded by Billy Peacock.
The highlight phase however was to be the second one with Midlothian operating in a higher gear that accelerated them to a 31-14 domination that was further reflected by a 22 shot match lead (60-38) on the master scoreboard. Home teams, especially good ones like the national champions, are expected to finish strong but Midlothian had the momentum and they held to win the third phase, 28-22, and round off an impressive away display. Walker left his best to last with the Scotland cap exploding from 14-11 with a run of 2, 1, 1, 5 to skip Jamie Hanlan, Dougie Russell, and Colin Macfarlane to a 23-11 win over Derek Stobo.
Peacock (Billy) pressed on from 8-5 to 20-15 with a purple patch run of 1, 3, 1, 1, 4, 2 and skipped Colin Cook, Andy Caldwell, and Danny McDougall to a 24-14 win over John Gilmartin. Knight made telling space from 9-7 to 19-9 with counts of 1, 1, 1, 1, (2), 3, 1, 1, 1 and skipped Ian Forbes, Ian Fleming, and Lindsay Plenderleith to a 23-17 win over Colin Taggart. Peacock (David) got out of jail with a 4, 1 finish to skip Jamie Macnab, Ryan Yuill, and Craig Hodge to an 18-18 peel with Jonathan Ross.