West Lothian IBC gents need to find some New Year Cheer in their bid to escape the unfamiliar relegation zone in the A Division of the Premier League and get the almost perfect chance to do so when they visit fellow strugglers Lanarkshire this weekend.
Perfect would have been a home game at Livingston but the under pressure stars from the Inveralmond Stadium are being asked to spark a long awaited revival on away territory against opponents also living dangerously at the wrong end of the table. WL do travel with a physcolgical cushion in that their 4 point tally puts them ahead of Lanarkshire and Abroath on 2 suggesting that they are not real candidates for the automatic drop position of bottom, and with Arbroath still to come at home the odds also favour them avoiding the playoff wrung as well.
Lanarkshire – by tradition – are no pushovers but with the stakes so high the expectations are that a star studded West Lothian team will strike the level of form needed to deliver a winning result. Derek Hagart is an inspirational type of character who has been out of favour but the former ‘player of the season’ is brought in from the cold with the hope that he can spark up a team that reads as follows. Rink 1. Bryan Cooper, Dougie Mitchell, Derek Hagart, and Neil Speirs. Rink 2. Cameron Greer, Raymond Logan, Craig Moss, and Calum Logan. Rink 3. Richard Mark, Ian Drysdale, Stuart Johnston, and Mark Allison. Rink 4. Paul Lynas, Paul O’Donnell, James Speirs, and Thomas Mann.
Meanwhile the gents of Balbardie IBC sit joint top of Division 1North and can keep themselves in the firing line for promotion by delivering a home win at the expense of far travelled Turriff. But Turriff have a well-earned reputation of being strongly competitive and high- spirited so it isn’t a fixture for Balbardie to ‘sleep walk into’. The home line up reads, Rink 1. John Black, John Ellis, Mark Bonnar, and Sandy McDougall. Rink 2. Graham Keary, Lindsay Forrest, Gary Orr, and Brian Craig. Rink 3. Craig Sinclair, Stephen Pettigrew, James Speirs, and Walter McDougall. Rink 4. Stuart Ford, Andy Forrest, Davie Ross, and Ewan Shearer.
The ladies of Balbardie IBC campaign in Division1C of the national league system and enter the New Year in second place just two points adrift or East Lothian but to remain competitive need to be at their best to deliver an away win over Bainfield.
Bainfield are notably strong at home and will take all the beating and it is a downside for Balbardie that ace skip Margo Duff is an absentee from the following line up. Rink 1. Betty Johnston, Ally Blagg, Gillian Hamilton, and Josie Bachini. Rink 2. Catherine Lochran, Catherine Shearer, Kim Ross, and Sharon Leitch. Rink 3. Nan Mitchell, Sara-Jane Wright, Lynn McDougall, and Angie Uttley. Rink 4. Christine Smellie, Lynn Sinclair, Margaret Scally, and Delia Flannigan.
West Lothian IBC sit in third place a further two points adrift of their Balbardie neighbours but will set the cat amongst the pigeons if able to pull off a shock win at home to East Lothian.