Balbardie IBC have an excellent record in the Scottish Team Championship event with title triumphs achieved in seasons 1994 and 2007 and the 2015 campaign is shaping up well with their mixed gender team of ten through to the semi-finals.
The Bathgate based club faced tough opposition in last weekend’s quarterfinal match at Stirling coming in the shape of twice runners-up Tweedbank and the outcome was a shot margin victory for Balbardie after a 4-4 share of the points. Tweedbank draw first blood with the 21-16 defeat of Balbardie spearhead figure Peter Lynch in the Singles coming after a hard fought battle with his Border opponent and there was also a disappointing outcome in the Pairs. The picture had looked rosy at one stage for the high profile partnership of Brian Craig (The WL Master) and Lorraine Malloy (Commonwealth Games Internationalist) who had built up a 14-8 supremacy after twelve-ends. A rapid change of landscape however saw the severe loss of 2, 6, 4, 1 transform the scoreline to 21-14 against Balbardie and despite a late flurry the partnership suffered a 22-19 defeat. The dark clouds did have a silver lining however and it was two-fold starting with a spectacular 34-13 win for the rink comprising Morven Shearer, Margo Duff, Ritchie Templeton, and Ewan Shearer. Shearer and Co made a blitz start that powered them into a 14-1 lead after six ends and by end 13 they were 23-5 ahead and well on the way to a substantial victory.
Balbardie needed a second victory and it was delivered in the Triples by the trio of Kim Ross, Sharon Leitch, and Walter McDougall in the shape of a 19-9 win that was derived from a strong start to lead 10-3 after 10-ends. The semi final opposition to Balbardie at East Fife IBC on Sunday March 22 comes in the shape of defending champions Arbroath who crushed Elgin 8-0 at Aberdeen. West of Scotland beat Glasgow, 5-3, while Blantyre beat Galleon 6-2.
West Lothian IBC stormed through to the second round of the gents Scottish Cup with a commanding 101-63 win over Fraserburgh at Forfar and the giants of the premier league continue their campaign this weekend at Glasgow. There is a huge upgrade in opposition class however in the shape of recently crowned premier league champions Paisley so it is a match that gives WL the opportunity to compensate for a disappointing league campaign. The first round exit of Balbardie IBC was unexpected against lowly Division 2 club Cumbernauld at Alloa and their 91-67 defeat was a shocker. “The best team by far won on the day and the only excuse we can offer is that Alloa is a heavy carpet that we always struggle to conquer and it was the same sad story on this occasion”, said a spokesman.
Balbardie ace Lorraine Malloy (skip) and West Lothian star Jenifer Richardson (lead) are on international duty this weekend and open in the same rink against England on Friday at 10. The follow on games are against Wales (Sat 3pm) and Ireland (Sunday 2pm).