Bowls: Bainfield missing two key men for visit of champions

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Bainfield indoor bowlers face perhaps their toughest test yet at home tomorrow as they bid to continue their flight from the relegation zone in the A section of the Premier League as they host table-topping reigning national champions West Lothian.

Home advantage on a slow carpet improves Bainfield’s chances, but it might not compensate for the loss of star figures James Hogg and 
Stevie McLeod unable to make the fixture.

Team manager John Bell has opted to retain the broad shape of last weekend’s winning team by keeping three rinks intact and asking Robert Marshall to skip a reshaped front three.

Hogg’s place at third is filled by the return of John Kidd while the young but experienced Stephen Pringle is recalled at second with Colin Gilchrist moving to the reserve bench.

West Lothian continue to campaign without two ace players in Thomas Mann and George Sneddon and make one change from the team that beat Midlothian with James Greenock coming in at lead for Dougie Mitchell in the rink skipped by Neil Speirs.

East Lothian have won three in a row to move swiftly away from the relegation zone, but their strong revival will be put to the test with a visit to second placed Falkirk.

Their cause will be boosted by the return of Derek Oliver, Billy Mellors, Jamie Higgins, Jamie Gordon and Colin Cook. Ewan Fallen is unavailable, while Luke Newlands, Calum Darling, Stevie Clark and Stewart Thomson all return to the reserve bench.

Midlothian are in dire relegation trouble, but have a golden opportunity to breathe life into their escape plans with a home tie against a Coatbridge team that arrive at Dalkeith without a win in seven games.

Martin Wyllie returns and plays third to Colin Walker, with Lindsay Plenderleith moved to second for Ronnie Duncan and Ian Forbes shuffled down to lead in place of Jamie Macnab.

Portobello entertain high hopes of returning to the top of the Division 1C table as victory over bottom club Teviotdale at the seaside venue will see them leapfrog current leaders Tweedbank, who have an idle day.

Porty will be looking to repeat their 23-shot win at Teviotdale earlier in the campaign.

Balbardie look a banker bet against foot-of-the- table Allander at Bathgate and need to win to keep section 1D leaders Stirling in their sights. Diz Drysdale returns for the absent David Lawrie and plays third to Jim Speirs.