Midlothian fired on all four cylinders to score a commanding 28 shot victory (94-66) over relegation zoned Bainfield at Dalkeith and with results elsewhere going in their favour it thrust them into pole position in the A section of the indoor bowls premier league
The bonus result for a jubilant Midlothian team was not unexpected although Blantyre’s 85-80 triumph at home to joint leader Abbeyview was a close call that reflects well on the fight put up by the Fifers from Dunfermline. Midlothian have gone two points clear at the top of the table but their position in the driving seat with three games to play is menaced by the close proximity of defending three-in-a-row champions West Lothian, Blantyre and Abbeyview. “We face a tough run in with visits to Blantyre and Abbeyview on our schedule in the New Year and are set to lose the services of two of our international stars in the shape of Ronnie Duncan and Colin Walker who are competing in the World Championshp Pairs down at Potters”, informed team manager Frank Gray. “However that situation is what it is and we will just have to get on with it as best we can and bolstered by the confidence that we do have strength in depth” he added. Bainfield arrived at Dalkeith as underdogs but buoyed up by their previous week win over Blantyre and hoping to pull off a surprise however it looked like they were in for a real tanking when falling 46 shots behind after 12-ends. It is much to their credit that the visitors refused to fold and staged such a ferocious fight back that they hammered Midlothian 41-23 on the run to the finishing line. “We certainly paid the price for being caught cold in what was for us a catastrophic first half of the match but we did redeem ourselves a bit and although failing to add to our points tally we at least remain above foot of the table Coatbridge”, commented team manager Alan Brown. Brown was forced to cope with the late call-off from ace skip James Hogg resulting in Colin Hutchison and Alan Brown moving up to skip and third respectively while Adam Brock was introduced at second. There was also a bit of late turmoil in the Midlothian line up with Colin Cook, Andy Kelly, and Colin Bonner pulled in to replace Jamie Aitken, Ryan Yuill, and AJ Knight, respectively. Midlothian were heavily motivated by the prospect of going clear at the top of the table and hit the ground running with counts of 5 and 7 included in an opening two end blitz that saw them power into a 15 shot lead. The home support cheered their team to the rafter in appreciation of stunning 46-20 domination of the first seven-end phase and although the pace slackened Midlothian operated strongly enough to win the second phase, 27-15. Given that size of shot margin bank could be decisive in who makes it to the playoff final it is Gray’s one disappointment that Midlothian failed to capitalise on their high of 46 shots having surrendered ground with the 31-21 loss of the third phase. It was greatly satisfying though for the manager that his team held the supremacy on all four rinks with Colin Walker beating Barry Hill, Ronnie Duncan beating Craig Paterson, David Peacock beating Colin Hutchison, and Billy Peacock beating Gavin Smith. Walker counted 7 shots with a magnificent take-out on the second end and that pepped him up to skip Ian Forbes, Colin Bonner, and Andy Caldwell to a 31-18 win over Graeme McIntosh, Craig Aitken, Brian Stoddart, and Hill. Duncan and his rink of Neil Watson, Andy Kelly, and Kevin McDougall bounced back to winning form with a 21-13 triumph over Josh Spalding, Stephen Pringle, Daniel Gormley, and Paterson having led 14-5 after 12-ends. Peacock (David) carded a mighty 5 at the first then led 14-6 going on to skip Jamie Macnab, Lindsay Plenderleith, and Craig Hodge to a 22-18 win over Kevin Tennant, Adam Brock, Alan Brown, and Hutchison. Peacock (Billy) was reaching for the moon as he rocketed Colin Cook, Ian Fleming, and Colin MacFarlane into a 13-0 lead after five ends but having run out of fuel settled for a 20-17 win over Chris Downie, Mark McIntosh, John McDermott, and Gavin Smith.