Midlothian gents suffered a heartbreaking defeat against Falkirk in the final of the indoor bowls Scottish Cup played at Perth but sportingly applauded a brilliantly executed last bowl delivery that triggered tumultuous celebrations in the opposition camp.Read More
An intense climax saw the by now white heat of the spotlight focus on the last of the four rinks to finish and in a do or die situation the target of the Midlothian rink skipped by world stage figure Colin Walker was to finish on a title winning double – trailing 20-19. Wins on the rinks skipped by Graham Archer and team captain David Peacock should have put Midlothian in the driving seat but didnt do so because of a damaging shot margin mauling suffered by star figure Ronnie Duncan. To rub salt in their wounds the perpetrator of the 14 shots punishment dished out to Duncan and his rink of Jack Macnab, James Cullen, and Billy Peacock was ex East Lothian star Steven Glen- an excellent player of international status.
The margin was of major significance as it gave Falkirk the edge, albeit slight, in terms of aggregate score on the master scoreboard and if staying that way was worth two points and a cliffhanging situation in the match of 4-4 with Walker and John McHutchison left to fight out who would emerge the hero figure. Walker and his front three of David Salkeld, John Stevenson, and Lindsay Plenderleith had played out of their skins in the early exchanges to achieve a commanding 17-6 lead over the opposition rink of Barry McArthur, Alastair Penn, Gary Stirling, and McHutchison. Midlothian were showing 50-42 ahead on the aggregate at this 13 end stage but the pendulum started to swing against both leads with Falkirk carding a 10-2 at the 14th (making it 52-52) that included a mighty count of 5 against Walker.
Walkers forward advancement was further impeded by the frightening loss of 1, 3, (2), 1, 2, 2 that resulted in the Midlothian rink coming under severe match losing pressure at 20-19 down playing the last. The build up to that final end made the temperature of the melting pot situation sizzle to high extremes as the judgement of the naked eye suggested that Midlothian might be holding a single for peels, with Walker still one bowl to play. McHutchison was first to play his last bowl and with the state of the head in a margin of doubt he consulted with fellow skip Gary Smith and the advice from the one time England and Scotland star was if in doubt you must attack the head as if the shot is against you. A hushed stadium was soon to find out the decision of the skip and with bated breath the crowded banking followed the progress of McHutchisons aggressive strike as it targeted the jack then to the delight of his Falkirk support buried it in the ditch.
It was an explosive and spectacular delivery that became an even more stunning blow to the Midlothian chins as the bowl and jack ended up on the extreme of a rink that on the fast running conditions meant that Walker was left facing an impossible task to draw even the single shot now needed to force an extra end across the carpet. Had McHutchisons last bowl effort been unproductive then Walker would have delivering to win both game and title instead of attempting to pull off mission impossible.
Whilst Midlothian would have been hailed as popular winners for the fifth time no one in the sport will grudge Falkirk their 6-4 triumph and first time taste of major glory given their history of runners up in the premier league in season 2012, 2016, and 2017. Walkers scoreline collapse to a 23-19 defeat from 17-6 up was a nightmare scenario that followed the 22-8 hammering of fellow world stage star Ronnie Duncan, both defeats being the major factor in being outgunned 75-68 on the aggregate score. Peacock (David) skipped Ian Forbes, Ian Fleming, and Scott Briggs into a 15-7 lead then onto a 21-15 win over Gary Flynn while Archer skipped Scott Runciman, Craig Hodge, and Andy Caldwell into a 19-12 lead then to a 20-17 win over Gary Smith.