The return to membership and first team duty of icon figure Robert Marshall is a major uplift to morale in the Bainfield camp setting out on their indoor bowls premier league campaign this weekend.
Marshall -with 48 caps to his name – would be the first name on the team sheet of newly appointed team manager Gavin Smith who himself has 15 caps to his name and takes over the reigns from 18 times capped Alan Brown who is having a season out. Smith’s first decision was to appoint Colin Hutchison as team captain and also select the current Scotland Cap to join himself, Marshall, and the much talented Craig Paterson as the Four skips to spearhead the Bainfield campaign in the B section of the highly competitive premier league.
The opening game away at Aberdeen sees Edinburgh’s only indoor bowls club make the long journey North with a new old face in the ranks as the fixture heralds the return the club and first team duty of enigmatic star Alex Hurry Jnr. “There could be late changes due to availability factors but our selected opening line up is strong on paper and our aim is to hit the ground running against an opposition that is formidable on their home territory”, said Smith. Smith is hopeful that the following team selection will be on the bus north and in great heart to face a testing challenge. Rink 1. Stephen Pringle, Steven Pilley, Kevin Tennant, and Robert Marshall. Rink 2. Jamie Reid, Stuart Douglas, Daniel Gormley, and Craig Paterson. Rink 3. Josh Spalding, Mark McIntosh, Alex Hurry, and Gavin Smith. Rink 4. Tam Ebbs, Brian Stoddart, John McDermott, and Colin Hutchison.
The luck of the draw has placed likely favourites East Lothian in the same B section as Bainfield and that makes possible the chance of an attractive head to head clash between the Marshall brothers as Alex (Tattie) is a confirmed starter for The Garden County. There would be a wait until 14th November though. Tattie’s confirmation of his regular availability is hugely welcome news for an East Lothian camp that opens against Ayr away with first team stars Scott Kennedy, Graham Robertson, Ewan Fallen, and Dougie Berwick all absentees.
However two further items of good news is that recently crowned E&L Tait Trophy champion Mal Higgenbotham returns from a lengthy self imposed exile to represent the East Lothian banner and is joined by the exciting capture of Welsh Under 25 cap, Joe Mower. East Lothian open with an all internationalist cast at their helm with Billy Mellors, Derek Oliver, Jamie Higgins, and Marshall MBE named at skip in a team that lines up as follows. Rink 1. Mal Higgenbotham, Jamie Gordon, Gary Darling, and Alex Marshall MBE. Rink 2. Mark Johnston, Callum Darling, Willie W Wood MBE, and Derek Oliver. Rink 3. Lessel Middler, Glenn Blair, Stewart W Thomson, and Jamie Higgins. Rink 4. Joe Mower, Andy Burt, Andy Jeffrey, and Billy Mellors (cpt).
West Lothian IBC’s failure to deliver in last season’s indoor bowls premier league raised questions of team morale and focus so the previous three-in-a- row champions will have their sights trained on a redemption campaign for the 2015/16 honours. Thomas Mann continues in the challenging role of team captain and has fellow cap experienced, Neil Speirs, Calum Logan, George Sneddon, Mark Allison, Bryan Cooper, Craig Moss, Paul O’Donnell and Cameron Geer for company. Reigning champions Paisley visit the Inveralmond Stadium in Livingston in what promises to be a tough A section opening encounter for a team that lines up as follows, Rink 1. Bryan Cooper, Jamie Gracie, Paul O’Donnell, and Neil Speirs. Rink 2. James Greenock, George Sneddon, Stuart Johnston, and Mark Allison. Rink 3. Cameron Greer, Blair Mackie, Craig Moss, and Calum Logan. Rink 4. Paul Lynas, Ian Drysdale, James Speirs, and Thomas Mann.
Midlothian – voted club of the year – were victims of a hard luck story in last seasons premier league and are once again confronted by an absentee nightmare for their opening match at home to Blantyre. Ace caps Colin Walker and Ronnie Duncan are joined on the unavailable list by Ian Fleming, Ryan Yuill and the Macnab brothers, Jack and Jamie. But team manager Frank Gray expects a strong and spirited display from the following team. Rink 1. Colin Cook, Andrew Caldwell, Danny MccDougall, and Billy Peacock. Rink 2. Neil Linton, Drew Pearson, Craig Hodge, and David Peacock. Rink 3. Jamie Hanlin, Scott Briggs, Dougie Russell, and Colin MacFarlane. Rink 4. Ian Forbes (cpt), Sandy Dippie, Lindsay Plenderleith, and AJ Knight.