Balbardie marched into the quarterfinals stage of the indoor bowls Scottish Team Championship event with a commanding 8-0 win over East Lothian at Falkirk and now await the outcome between Tweedbank and Abbeyview.
Both clubs have past title-winning form in the event with East Lothian reigning as champions in 1989 and 1991 while Balbardie took the trophy back to Bathgate in 1995 and 2007.The Team Championship is a mixed male/female format embracing Singles/Pairs/Triples/Fours but the headline clash in the Singles was an all male affair featuring two talented exponents in Peter Lynch and John McCrorie. Although better known for their exploits under the outdoor code the battle between the 2003 WL Master and the 2000 national singles champion was expected to be a cracking encounter and it did indeed turn out to be a real humdinger.
The confrontation stretched to a near marathon 26-ends and was of epic proportions going right down to the wire before Lynch set the Balbardie pulse rates racing as he clinched a 21-19 victory.Lynch opened up a 4-0 lead by carding two doubles but McCrorie – a prolific tournament winner of Trade Holiday titles back in the good old days of Balgreen – entered the scene with a run of 1, 2, 2, 1, 1 to cross 7-4.McCrorie dropped a 3 to 7-7 then responded with a run of 1, 3, 1 to 12 but the battle for an early supremacy raged on with Lynch carding 4, 1 to stand all square at 12-12 after 13-ends.Peels were called again at 14-14 and 15-15 then Lynch carded a magic 3 at end 20 followed by a single to bring the winning post into sharp focus at 19-15 however McCrorie placed the outcome back in the melting pot with a sizzling 1, 2, 1 fight back to 19-19. First Blood can be an inspirational match-changing moment in this form of team play so it was a great morale boost for Balbardie when Lynch edged successive singles in a nail-biting climax to hit 21 on end 26.
The Triples was next to finish and it featured Kim Ross, Sharon Leitch, and Walter McDougall of Balbardie against Megan Kivlin, Andy Burt, and Tommy Young.It turned out to be magic carpet ride for Balbardie with McDougall and Co carding a mighty 5 at the first end then repeating the feat on end 4 to lead 13-2 and entering end 8 they had the opposition in their 16-3 grip.
East Lothian showed good fight with a 1, 2, 3 reply to 9 but it was a short-lived revival with McDougall bursting the opposition’s bubble in spectacular style – carding a super six then adding a single to lead 23-9 after 11-ends/Balbardie didn’t get things all their own way over the seven end run in –winning only one of them but still finishing commanding 26-18 winners The early tide in the Pairs flowed towards the EL partnership of Janet Dickson and Peter Fallen who lead 7-2 after five ends but a swift change of direction saw Brian Craig and Lorraine Malloy ride the crest of a wave with a surging run of 1, 5, 1, (2), 4, 1, 1, 1 to cross 16-9.The combination of Craig – the reigning WL Master – and Malloy – The Commonwealth Games Internationalist – continued to be on song and a run of 2, 4, 3, to 25-10 saw them contribute a 25-13 victory.Ewan Shearer skipped his sister Morven, Margo Duff, and Ritchie Templeton from 8-8 after eight ends to a 26-14 win that included a run of 2, 7, 1 and a last end count of 5 against Yvonne Veitch, Gordon Pryde, Janet Fairnie, and Dougie Berwick. “We all perked up when Peter (Lynch) captured the win points in the singles to get us off the mark as that outcome was balanced on a knife-edge”, reflected spokesperson Margo Duff.