Ronnie Duncan’s seasonal debut for Midlothian in the A section of the indoor bowls premier league was a majestic one that inspired the visitors to a 37 shot demolition of a West Lothian team once thought to be invincible on home territory at Livingston.
Duncan had been sidelined since the start of the campaign by a stint representing Bowls Scotland (Outdoor) in the Hong Kong Classic Pairs and Singles allied to heavy work commitments; but stepped into the breach when ace skip Colin Walker became unavailable. Midlothian arrived at The Inveralmond Stadium seeking to complete a home and away double over their star studded rivals for the second season in a row and with AJ Knight and the Peacock brothers, David and Billy, also having the measure of their respective oppositions the final 83-46 victory was never in any doubt.
“This win was more comfortable than expected but it does reflect a strong team performance that sends us into the Christmas period with a happy outlook as joint leaders with Blantyre however we will be losing both Colin (Walker) and Ronnie (Duncan) for vital games early in the New Year”, said team manager Frank Gray. Gray was referring to Walker and Duncan bidding as a partnership for the World Pairs title down at Potters Leisure where Duncan also competes in the Singles as a tempting 66/1 outsider that is exceptional value albeit he is surrounded by hot pots including an opener against recently crowned Scottish Open Champion, Greg Harlow.
Midlothian expected a testing time of it against WL and that’s what did look on the cards when the first seven-end phase was fought out on a tightrope that was reflected by a 22-22 score on the master scoreboard. Having been fired up by a team talk that highlighted West Lothian having seven international trial players in their line up compared to the zero recognition of Midlothian the sense of injustice fuelled a second phase acceleration by the visitors.
“We gained a supremacy on all four rinks and it was a an exhilarating joy to watch the team powering to a 32-12 domination that set us up with a 20 shot lead”, reflected Gray. Home teams – especially ones with seven potential international players in its ranks – are expected to produce strong finishes in front of a vociferous support, and the noise was there but WL failed to respond and were well and truly gubbed 29-12. Duncan’s chief highlight moment came with a run of 3, 1, 5 to lead 18-5, going on to inflict 32-11 pain on Cameron Greer, Blair Mackie, Craig Moss, and Logan.
Peacock (David) hit back from 9-4 down to skip Jamie Macnab, Ryan Yuill, and Craig Hodge to a 19-11 win over Thomas Mann; while AJ Knight battled to a 13-10 win over James Speirs. Peacock (Billy) kicked on from 5-5 to beat Mark Allison, 19-14.