Bowls: Cup woe for Portobello

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Portobello had high hopes of progressing into the second round of the indoor bowls Scottish Cup, but they failed to cope with Fraserburgh in Dundee and crashed to a 93-73 defeat.

The formbook seemed to favour Portobello in the first-round clash between the two Division One clubs, with Fraserburgh having failed to win away from home in their league campaign. That, however, turned out to be a false indication of how the tie would go.

Fraserburgh led from start to finish, dishing out defeat to the Portobello rinks skipped by Andrew Caldwell, Chris Steven and team captain Stuart Betts.

George Johnston was the only successful skip for a Portobello team that, in the view of organiser-in-chief Robert Wood, 
suffered atrocious luck on many occasions across the carpet, but paid the price for a poor start that saw them lose the first seven-end phase 37-13.

Portobello competed much better in the second phase, but still lost it 29-26. It wasn’t until the third and last phase that they got the measure of the opposition, but their 34-27 superiority came too late to make a difference.

“Caldwell’s rink got slaughtered, but the skip against them was tremendous and converted countless heads, while Betts suffered in similar style and Steven lost two fives as the result of outrageous flukes,” explained Wood.

“It was a subdued bus on the journey home, with the conversations dominated by ifs, buts and maybes. We have to accept that the rub of the green went against us and hope that our younger players in the team benefit from the experience.”

Caldwell and his rink of Kerr McKail, David Brown and Billy Dunleavey suffered a horrendous opening to trail 21-4 after 12-ends, and for one reason or another only counted at six of the 20 ends played in a 29-12 defeat from Alan Bruce.

Betts skipped Ross Thomson, Liam McKay and Jamie Reid into a 10-9 lead after 10-ends, but lost the next five to trail 18-10 and despite carding a decent 11 shots on the run-in, conceded a 5 and 4 to lose 27-21 to Raymond Clark.

Steven and his front-three of Neal Rooney, Dean Mackintosh and Gordon Bold trailed 15-3 after nine ends, having lost 5s at the 4th and the 9th, so did well to retain their composure in a 22-20 defeat from Scott Murray.

Johnston brought some relief to the Porty camp by skipping Ian Fleming, Euan Murray and Kevin Hunter to a 20-15 win over Graeme Bain.