Bowls: Bainfield ‘back on track’ as victory over Balbardie sends them to top of the table

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Bainfield’s ambition to win promotion to the indoor bowls Premier League gained a major boost when they returned to the top of the table after blitzing Balbardie 105-65 at the Hutchison Crossway stadium.

“We are back on track after losing away to Tweedbank and the encouraging aspect was that all four rinks had the measure of their respective opposition,” said team manager John Bell.

Tweedbank suffered an agonising single-shot defeat (72-71) against East Fife at Methil but continue to be a threat. At the halfway stage of the league they share the eight-point mark with Bainfield.

Bainfield made an explosive start with a full-house count of eight shots for Gavin Smith on only his second end and it fired up the home team challenge for them to dominate the first seven-end phase 45-13.

The rate of scoring on the second phase increased from 58 to 61 but Balbardie bagged a bigger share albeit not enough to prevent Bainfield from capturing it, 37-24, and so increase their match lead to 45 shots.

Balbardie continued to improve on the third phase and edged it 28-23, but all four Bainfield rinks still had a comfort zone in which to operate.

The rinks skipped by Robert Marshall, Paul O’Donnell and Colin Hutchison all recorded double-figure wins but Gavin Smith failed to join them and had to settle for a single-figure success despite having led 14-1 and 25-14.

Marshall atoned for his nightmare result at Tweedbank by skipping Neil Watson, John McDermott and James Hogg to a 29-16 win over Graeme Byrne that was highlighted by a dynamic start to lead 19-5 after ten ends.

O’Donnell carded shots at nine of the first ten ends to skip Craig Moss, Stuart Patterson and Stevie McLeod into a 14-1 lead over Ewan Shearer then traded comfortably on the cushion for the next 11 to triumph 22-11.

Hutchison outstripped all his fellow skips over the first 11 ends to blitz Sandy McDougall 20-3, then, after failing to score at seven of the remaining ten ends, settled for skipping Craig Paterson, Paul Millar and Jamie Aitken to a 25-15 win.

Smith and his rink of Chris Downie, Stephen Pringle and Alan Brown were cut down from 14-1 to 17-14 by Walter McDougall then made fresh space to 25 with a 3, 5 reply but renewed pressure saw them happy to settle for a 29-23 win.

Stirling beat Cumbernauld 77-70 in the other Division 1B fixture.