The Balbardie trio of Andy Jenkins, Kenny Martin, and Ewan Shearer emerged surprise winners in the first stage action of the gents indoor bowls Scottish Triples Championship played at Glasgow venue Whiteinch.Read More
Shearer and his front-two defied the odds, big time, on two occasions as they reeled off a super hat trick of wins that saw them clip the wings of Stirling in the first round proper, Midlothian in the second round, and Bainfield in the section final. The immediate reward is a place in the Last Four showcase stage at Aberdeen over the weekend of March 25/26 where their pathway to title glory stands blocked in the semi finals by East Lothian super trio Mark Johnston, Willie Wood MBE, and Derek Oliver.
It will take a giant-killing performance to win that challenge against three players of huge international reputation however the qualifying scalps captured by Balbardie include that of big gun trios from Midlothian and Bainfield. The pre-match odds sentencing the Bathgate based trio to underdogs status against Billy Peacock, Colin Walker, and David Peacock from The Dalkeith Stadium then Chris Downie, Colin Hutchison, and Gavin Smith from The Hutchison Crossway Stadium.
The section final against Bainfield was a real humdinger that could have, but didnt, seen the Edinburgh Elite moving out of sight over three astonishing opening ends. First end drama saw Balbardie hold a single shot that was vulnerable to a take-out that would yield a six shot reward to Bainfield; but Smiths bullet like strike resulted in a burnt end.
The replayed end was completely dominated by Bainfield resulting in Shearer going to the mat with a full house count of nine shots against him however the composed Balbardie skip managed to cut his loss down to a four. Shearer was then forced into more heroic action on end two where with six shots against him the stalwart outdoor cap played a brilliant bowl into the head that reduced his loss to a single.
More heart in the mouth drama on the third end once again ended in frustrating pain for a Bainfield trio that saw their hold of five shots converted to one shot against with Shearer continuing his spell of heroics with a perfect last bowl draw that killed the lot. So, 5-1 to Bainfield when, but for Shearer, it would have been 20-0 and game over.
The single to Balbardie gave Shearer and Co the chance to change the jack length and the tactical adjustment worked wonders foe the front-end who immediately began to challenge the brilliance of Downie and Hutchison. Peels were called at 11-11 then that deadlock was broken by yet another game-changing moment with Balbardie carding a mighty five that thrust them into the driving seat. Bainfield kept their fading hopes alive with successive singles that closed them to 16-13 entering the last end however their qualifying fate was sealed by the loss of a double that clinched a fairy-tale 18-13 win for Balbardie.
Midlothian carded two super counts of six as they moved into an 18-12 lead over Balbardie in their second round clash and then held three on the next end but astonishingly conceded six as the result of Shearer smashing the jack into the ditch. Suddenly it was all to play for with the finishing line fast approaching and it was Balbardie that delivered the goods to edge a 22-20 victory. Balbardie launched their campaign with a commanding 19-8 win over Stirling.