Scottish Cup action returns to the national calendar this weekend with West Lothian IBC set to face Coatbridge at East Kilbride tomorrow and Balbardie IBC travelling to Cumbernauld to take on Lanarkshire.
The formbook suggests a win for West Lothian and a defeat for Balbardie but the romance of the Cup is that upsets do happen. There is no team news from either camp.
Men’s Scottish Fours
West Lothian IBC showed encouraging signs in their playdown section of the gents Scottish Fours Championship played at Midlothian/East Lothian stadiums over the weekend but failed to deliver in their third match.
Thomas Mann and Neil Speirs were whisked away to Sarasota Lawn Bowling Club in the USA as part of Scotland’s pre Commonwealth Games selection process so WL drafted in Dougie Mitchell and Calum Logan.
Logan skipped Bryan Cooper, Mitchell and James Speirs to a commanding 28-9 win over Headwell in the prelim round then followed up with a battling 17-14 win over Chris Downie, Craig Paterson, Craig Moss and Paul O’Donnell of Bainfield.
Play transferred to East Lothian IBC on the Sunday and the future continued to look bright when WL recovered from 12-6 down to lead Dougie Walls, Alan Bernard, Jim McGuire and Stuart Pagan of Abberyview 16-14 with three ends to play. But Logan and Co were denied a place in the section final after conceding 2,1,2 to lose 19-16.
Balbardie competed in the same section but their rink of Graeme Keery, Diz Drysdale, Gary Orr and 2001 national champion skip Graeme Byrne bowed out to a 19-10 defeat from Bainfield in the prelim round.
Ladies Scottish Fours
Play in the ladies version of the Fours Championship saw West Lothian IBC and Balbardie IBC competing at East Lothian but both made early round exits.
The Balbardie rink of Morven Shearer, Catherine Shearer, Kim Ross and Sharon Leitch showed their battling qualities to edge a 23-21 nail-biter over Abbeyview in the prelim round but a tough ask in round one saw them lose 21-14 to defending champions Coatbridge.
The WL rink of Irene Taylor, Lynn Greer, Jennifer Sneddon and Jean Brown faced a strong East Fife opposition in their prelim round tie and made a good fight of it before squeezed out to suffer a 17-15 defeat.
Meanwhile the Balbardie dream of achieving gents’ Premier League status was dashed in the recent play-off match with the Division 1C champions losing at Stirling to a Paisley opposition fighting to remain in the top flight.
Balbardie failed to do themselves justice in crashing to a disappointing 23 shot defeat (93-70) with team manager Bill Black commenting “It just didn’t happen for us on the day although we didn’t lack either effort or appetite.’’
Balbardie were never overwhelmed on the major scoreboard but the team performance was lop-sided and reflected by the phase scoring details of losing the first seven-ends 34-30 the second 27-19 and the third, 32-21.
“The section of the match that influenced the flow of events and killed us off as serious challengers was the eight-end spell from the th to 16th with Paisley outscoring us 39-20 to set up a 21 shot match lead,” reflected Black.
Sandy McDougall and his front-three of Peter Lynch, Andy Forrest and Mark Bonar was the only rink on fire and blazed their way into an inspiring 15-0 lead then on to a 28-12 win over Derek Stobo.
Graeme Byrne and his rink of Graeme Keery, Davie Ross, and Diz Drysdale were competing well at 14-14 but fell away to a 22-18 defeat from Graham Sloan.
Gary Orr and his rink of Andy Jenkins, Jimmy Mallon and Walter McDougall failed to register at 15 of the 21 ends and paid the price with a 31-12 defeat from Colin Taggart.
Ewan Shearer and his rink of Alistair Wilson, John Gillogly and Jim Speirs only completed 18 of their 21 ends during which time they dropped a five at the fifth and a seven at the 13th en route to a 28-12 drubbing from internationalist Jonathan Ross.