Balbardie in commanding position for play-offs

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Balbardie IBC ended their Division 1C campaign with a commanding 29-shot victory over Headwell at Bathgate.

That result saw them clinch the top of the table honours earning them a crack at winning promotion to the premier league via a play-off situation.

It was Balbardie’s seventh win in eight games and their 14 points pushed them six points clear of chief rivals Tweedbank who contributed to their own demise with a shock defeat away to Berwickshire.

Tweedbank losing was good enough for Balbardie to finish in top spot but the Bathgate based club’s pre-match focus had to be on beating Headwell.

The final score of 98-69 maskedea period of drama and trauma that occurred in the early stages of the match with skip Ewan Shearer forced to retire after the fifth end, the result of a severely pulled muscle having landed awkwardly from an exuberant jump in the air.

Balbardie were going great guns at the time having opened up a 14-shot lead that was full of promise but the focus had been disturbed to such an extent that just five ends later the scoreboard was showing the match all square at 38-38.

The phase scoring details irons out the short term challenge to Balbardie with the home side capturing the first 30-20, the second 37-27 and the third 31-22.

Wins on the rinks skipped by Gary Orr, Sandy McDougall and Graeme Byrne made it a pleasing performance in front of the home support while the single figure defeat of Drysdale didn’t damage the cause.

Orr inspired the Balbardie revival with a run of 5,1,3,3 to skip Andy Jenkins, 
Jimmy Mallon and Walter McDougall into a 21-7 lead after 14 ends then a storming 5,3,1 finish saw them score a massive 33-11 win.

Sandy McDougall set the early mood for the home team with a count of seven on the third end then, at the business end of the match, conjured up a magic finishing run of 1,1,1,3,1 to skip Jim Speirs, Andy Forrest and Mark Bonar to a 24-11 win.

Byrne transformed a 14-6 deficit into a 17-14 lead with counts of four and seven but it took a 2,2,(1),3 finish for him to skip Graeme Keery, Davie Ross and Diz Drysdale to a 25-24 win.

The Shearer/Drysdale rink was in touch at 14-13 down after 13 ends but slipped to a 23-16 defeat from J J Watson.

West Lothian IBC looked to be on easy street when travelling to foot of the table Inverclyde seeking a win that would secure them the top of the table spot in the A section of the Premier League.

However the two-in-row defending champions crashed to a humbling 11-shot defeat that puts their celebrations on hold but, with one fixture to come still, leaves them favourites to see off the challenge of only rivals Blantyre.