Midlothian launched their campaign in the A section of the indoor bowls premier league with a highly impressive performance that was rewarded in an exciting climax with a dramatic four shot victory (79-75) over Blantyre at the Dalkeith stadium.
Blantyre arrived with a massive reputation having reached last season’s playoff final and bristling with a star line up that included three internationalists at skip in the shape of Iain McLean , Brian Irvine, a new recruit in past world champion Stewart Anderson, plus the talented Scott Bishop.
Midlothian went into the match with seven regulars missing including ace internationalists Colin Walker and Ronnie Duncan leading to the home teams expectations being more hopeful than high. The final outcome did go right down to the wire and lady luck had a big hand in the Midlothian victory however mid game the sterling efforts of the underdogs had earned them a encouraging 52-32 supremacy over the gifted visitors.
“We scored a 10-0 clean-sweep across the carpet on end 11 that doubled our match lead to 20 and we were rubbing our hands on the sidelines however we do tend to have a wobble period in games and that situation visited us again”, reflected Gray.
“Blantyre slowly and surely eliminated our advantage until the master scoreboard showed 74-74 with our final fortune left in the hands of the rinks skipped by the Peacock brothers- Billy and David”.
Midlothian hearts sank as the unfolding drama produced a single to Blantyre against Billy Peacock and the build up of a holding shot when David Peacock took to the mat for the final delivery of the match. Peacock (David) targeted the opposition shot bowl with a raking runner into the head but was slightly off line however he promoted a home short bowl directly onto the shot bowl and removed it clean as a whistle – for a five shot conversion to win the match.
“Normally such an outcome would spark a mad rush of celebration up the carpet but on this occasion we all new that we had stolen the points via a massive piece of good luck (fluke) so our reaction was sportingly muted”, summed up Gray. The phase scoring reflects a hard fought match from start to finish with Midlothian capturing the first seven ends, 29-22, and the second, 30-26, but coming under pressure to lose the third, 20-27.
Peacock (David) only won nine of the 20 ends he completed but made the major contribution by skipping Neil Linton, Scott Matthews, and Craig Hodge from 6-6 to a 19-13 win over Scott Bishop.
Sandy (AJ) Knight made a fantastic start to skip Ian Forbes, Sandy Dippie, and Lindsay Plenderleith into an inspirational 18-1 lead over national icon figure Iain McLean but came under late pressure and won 22-17.
Peacock (Billy) and his front-three of Colin Cook, Andy Caldwell, and Danny McDougall put in a strong performance to come off a 14-15 pace and beat Stewart Anderson, 21-17.
Colin Macfarlane and his rink of Jamie Hanlon, Scott Briggs, and Dougie Russell dropped a 5 to trail 15-7 and went to suffer a 28-17 defeat from Brian Irvine.