West Lothian gents are surprise strugglers in the A Division of the indoor bowls Premier League and a dire start to the new-year fixtures saw the team of stars fail to sparkle in an 87-71 defeat away to Lanarkshire.
The term ‘too good to be relegated’ applies to a West Lothian team populated by five current and two recent full caps but a record of two wins in eight games leaves the elite of The Inveralmond Stadium flirting dangerously with the drop zone. There is however an escape hatch that is wide open from the threat of finishing in the automatic relegation foot of the table position looming up in the immediate future in the shape of this weekend’s match against Arbroath at Livingston.
A home win is one hundred percent expected and if that is delivered under the severe pressures of the occasion than Arbroath will be sentenced to the drop, and with just one further fixture remaining West Lothian will become favourites to finish ahead of fellow strugglers Lanarkshire. Lanarkshire go into this weekend’s penultimate round of matches sharing the four point mark with West Lothian – Arbroath are adrift on two points – and will line up as underdogs against Midlothian at Dalkeith. The climax to the league programme pitches WL into a mega tough away game against current table toppers Blantyre while if fighting for their lives Lanarkshire have home environment advantage over last seasons champions, Paisley. The current league table after eight games played reads, Blantyre 14 (+273); Midlothian 14 (+113); Paisley 10 (+17); West Lothian 4 (-85); Lanarkshire 4 (-128); Arbroath 2 (-190).
Meanwhile the gents team from Balbardie IBC remain strong contenders to grab the honours in Division 1North where with two fixtures to go they sit joint top with Alloa albeit 61 adrift on shot margin. Balbardie’s latest offering was a tasty 30 shot victory (91-61) over far travelled Turriff at Bathgate and further opportunity knocks this weekend in the shape of a home match against relegation zoned Stirling. Alloa face a tricky visit to third placed Coatbridge but come what may it could be a winner takes all clash when Balbardie travel away to Alloa in the final fixture.
Balbardie IBC’s bold bid to stay up with the pace in the race for the top honours in Division 1C of the ladies national leagues has collapsed in the face of a colossal 41 shot defeat (109-68) from Bainfield at the Edinburgh venue.
High-flying East Lothian were always favourites to finish in top place and ‘the garden county’ extended their lead over Balbardie to an uncatchable four points with a battling 81-67 win over West Lothian at Livingston.
Balbardie enter the lions den in this weekend’s final round of fixtures with a visit to East Lothian while joint third placed West Lothian are away to foot of the table Teviotdale.
The match against Bainfield saw Balbardie lose on three rinks against an opposition with a strong home record however the visitors did celebrate one win with Sharon Leitch skipping Catherine Lochran, Catherine Shearer, and Kim Ross to a 20-16 win over Mandy O’Donnell. The other rink results were, Isabel Anderson 28 Angie Uttley 19; Anna Anderson 25 Delia Flannigan 12; Rita Reid 40 Josie Bachini 17.