As coupon busters go the exit of West Lothian in the prelim round of the indoor bowls Scottish Fours Championship at East Fife IBC was a shocker of stunning proportion as the star studded rink of Bryan Cooper, James Speirs, Thomas Mann, and Neil Speirs were the defending champions.
Speirs (Neil) and Mann stand fourth and fifth in the national ranking list while fellow cap Cooper is 16th and Speirs (James) 43rd ; but their reputation was trashed by the Abbeyview rink of Andy McGeorge, Nigel Walker, Ali McIntyre, and Andrew Kennedy who crushed the super stars, 28-6. West Lothian opened with a single but then conceded 5, 2, 1, 2, 2, 4, 4 to be challenged – unanswered – by a 20-1 deficit after eight ends and the reigning champions were dethroned after 16 of the scheduled 21-ends.
Abbeyview’s time in the limelight was ended by their 22-8 exit in the first round proper by the Midlothian rink skipped by Colin Walker that went on to win the section and join Aberdeen, Lanarkshire, and Prestwick in the Last Four line up.
Meanwhile the Balbardie IBC rink skipped by Ewan Shearer and competing in the Glasgow IBC section made a crushing 31-19 exit to Inverclyde in the prelim round.
In the ladies Scottish Fours Balbardie IBC paraded their skills in the section hosted by Glasgow IBC and an encouraging first round result saw the rink of Kim Ross, Delia Flannigan, Margo Duff, and Sharon Leitch deliver an impressive 25-11 exit to Lanarkshire. And the hopes of the Balbardie camp soared when Leitch skipped her rink to a high scoring 30-21 victory over the Stirling four of Sheila Marshall, Irene Mackin, Evelyn Dickson, and Christina Watson to enter the section final.
But the dream of a place in the semi finals stage at Falkirk IBC on the weekend of April 2 and 3 quickly evaporated in the shape of a severe anti climax 26-3 defeat at the hands of Auchinleck’s, Hannah Smith, Stacey Wylie, Bunty Mackin, and Claire Johnston.
West Lothian’s campaign in the Headell section was short lived with their experienced rink of Creena Docherty, Irene Wright, Carole Clarkson, and former cap Margaret Russell making a 23-14 exit to Perth in the prelim round. East Lothian emerged the winners of the section resulting in a line up at Falkirk as follows, East Kilbride v Auchinleck; East Lothian v Turriff.
Play in the national leagues returns to the calendar this weekend with the highlight match featuring the gents of West Lothian IBC visiting reigning champions Paisley in the A section of the Premier League. WL lost the home fixture by a narrow margin and with only two wins out of five to their credit the pressure is on for the stars from The Inveralmond Stadium to start producing triumphs in place of near misses.
Balbardie IBC top the Division 1 North table with four wins out of five and have a top versus bottom opportunity to stay there albeit the Bathgate based club is on away territory at Perth. Balbardie and West Lothian both remain in the mix as chasers of leaders East Lothian in Division 1C of the ladies leagues and both have home carpet advantage this weekend with Balbardie hosting Tweedbank and West Lothian entertaining Bainfield.