Midlothian gents enter the three match final straight of the race to finish top of the A Division of the indoor bowls premier league sitting joint top on points with Blantyre but handicapped by a massive 162 shortfall in the shot margin bank.
The initial target facing the elite stars from The Dalkeith Stadium is to reel off a hat trick of wins and hitting that the bulls eye on each occasion is within their scope however they also need Blantyre to drop one point on their run in. Blantyre are strong favourites not to falter and that is a tribute to their undoubted strength as they face away visits to foot of the table Arbroath and defending champions Paisley. Their end fixture is at home to star studded West Lothian.
Midlothian are due to have their mettle well and truly tested today albeit they are buoyed up with home environment advantage against Paisley visitors that were last season’s king pin performers. Whilst Midlothian have already seen off the challenges of Blantyre, West Lothian, and Arbroath on the home carpet, and trounced Paisley by 28 shots on the away fixture, there are negative factors to overcome today.
Two ‘Top Guns’ miss the action with ace skips Ronnie Duncan and Colin Walker down South at Potters Leisure competing in the World Championships however team manager Frank Gray is optimistic that his team will still rise to the occasion. “We have shown strong mental toughness and sharp focus to get to where we are and the presence of our massively impressive gold medal icon figure David Peacock is always good for stimulating and lifting team morale”, said Gray. The reshaped team includes Andrew Caldwell, the former Portobello IBC star, being switched up from second to third and Neil Linton being introduced. Rink 1. Ian Forbes, Ian Fleming, Lindsay Plenderleith, and Sandy (AJ) Knight. Rink 2. Jack Macnab, Kevin McDougall, Andy Caldwell, and Colin MacFarlane. Rink 3. Colin Cook, Neil Linton, Danny McDougall, and Billy Peacock. Rink 4. Jamie Macnab, Ryan Yuill, Craig Hodge, and David Peacock.
West Lothian IBC’s current third from bottom position is unfamiliar territory for the recent three-in-a-row-champions but a near to full strength team can ease the relegation zone threat by winning away to worse off strugglers Lanarkshire. Rink 1. Bryan Cooper, Dougie Mitchell, Des Hagart, and Neil Speirs. Rink 2. Richard Mark, Ian Drysdale, Stuart Johnston, and Mark Allison. Rink 3. Cameron Greer, Raymond Logan, Craig Moss, and Calum Logan. Rink 4. Paul Lynas, Paul O’Donnell, James Speirs, and Thomas Mann.
East Lothian ladies sit top of the indoor bowls Division 1C league table with a 2 point and massive 232 shot advantage over second placed Balbardie and ‘the garden county’ are strong favourites to strengthen their grip in today’s visit to third placed West Lothian IBC at Livingston. Ex Portobello IBC star Gillian Mackintosh lines up at third to Lauren Baillie who joins forces with fellow skips Yvonne Veitch, Janet Fairnie, and Emma Logan in a strongly formed East Lothian attack forces that has won six out of eight and on the verge of clinching the qualifying honours.
Ace skip Margo Duff is an absentee in the Balbardie team that faces a tough test against Bainfield at The Hutchison Crossway Stadium where Sharon Leitch, Josie Bachini and sisters Angie Uttley and Delia Flannigan are at the helm for the visitors.
Midlothian provide a strong premier league interest in the B Division where they sit in second place just two points and 17 shots adrift of Auchinleck going into today’s penultimate match against Galleon at Kilmarnock.
The Dalkeith Elite travel without two star figures in the shape of internationalists Sandra McLeish and Gaynor Duncan but are expected to deliver a strong challenge under the driving force of skips Stacey McDougall, Ann Rutherford, Jeanette Conlan, and Shona Johnstone.