The buzz of excitement currently rippling though the Hutchison Crossway Stadium in the capital city is a direct result of their Bainfield ladies team producing a formbook upset to reach the first round proper of The Scottish Cup.
Bainfield travelled to the Inveralmond Stadium in Livingston nursing positive hopes that the neutral venue would improve their prospects of winning against a Balbardie opposition still on a high after finish top of the Division 1C League. Both clubs had competed in the same league and shared one win each against each other but the final table showed Bainfield finishing a massive 10 points and 106 shots adrift of a Balbardie team that won eight of their 10 games.
“The team management drummed into our ladies that Cup games have a different dynamic and a neutral venue brings fresh challenges to both teams so our attitude should be positive and most importantly competitive”, related team manager Muriel Old. The prelim round clash turned out to be an absolute thriller of an epic battle that went right down to the wire and was climaxed by a dramatic last bowl delivery that clinched a 74-72 win for a jubilant Bainfield. Old and her co-selectors Ann Paton and Nan Tennant – not alone in having fingers bitten down to their knuckles – were thrilled to bits by the show of mental strength it took to get the team over the line. “This game was balanced on a knife-edge from start to finish and in truth could have gone either way and it took a killer last bowl draw from Isabel Anderson to edge the win for us”, reflected Old. Anderson – a top class recruit from the now sadly defunct Portobello IBC – skipped her rink to a victory that was supported by Theresa Blair and although both were extremely narrow margins they did combine to cover the defeat of Marion Dickson and Anna Anderson.
Bainfield were only behind on five of the 21 ends and held a 10 shot lead for a time in the middle stages so that suggests the scales tipped in the right direction although the phase scoring paints an accurate picture of a melting pot scenario. Anderson added a timely count of 3 at end 15 to skip Aimee Robertson, Karen Tumblety, and Rita Reid into a 17-12 lead then held out to register an 18-15 win over Margo Duff in game that ended on the time bell after 19-ends. The Bainfield skip was last to finish and faced a Cup exit hold against her but a well weighted final delivery gained a needed directional assist via the edge of a friendly bowl to wriggle into the head to count a match-winning single. Blair carded an uplifting 5 at end two then made a strong impression to skip Sylvia McAnna, Lily Murray, and Isa Wilson into an 18-9 lead over Pat Purdie but came under late pressure before vitally landing a late 1, 2 to win 21-17. Anderson (Anna) was deadlocked at 15-15 after 14 ends then slipped to a 21-19 defeat from Delia Flannigan but made a crucial contribution by skipping Susan Allan, Cathy Falconer, and Kathleen Barr to a double on the last end. Dickson and her rink of Gladys Christie, Ann Matthew, and Anne Watson were mostly against the collar – albeit in touch at 9-9 – and suffered a 19-16 setback at the hands of Sharon Leitch – however played her part with a 4, (2), 1, 1 finish.
Elsewhere the 85-71 exit of East Lothian to Stirling at Bainfield was another shocker given that that the ‘garden county’ had just been piped at the post for the league honours in Division 1C while their opponents had finished joint bottom of Division 1B.
West Lothian suffered a crushing 106-54 defeat from Falkirk at Balbardie.