Bowls: Foster and Laidlaw stay on course

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Title holders Paul Foster from Prestwick and Midlothian’s Stacey Laidlaw safely negotiated the opening two rounds of the National Indoor Four Bowl Pairs championship playdowns at Blantyre and West Lothian respectively, with both partnering different players from their winning line-ups of last season.

Foster who won the title last season with Alex Adrain and who only returned from Australia a few weeks ago where he won the world outdoor pairs title in Adelaide with Alex Marshall, adapted to the indoor surface at Blantyre yesterday and alongside Prestwick clubmate Craig Lindsay opened with a 22-8 win over Grant Hamilton and Cameron Wilson from the Galleon in Kilmarnock then added a 29-11 win over Newton Stewart.

Their second-round opponents today will be Auchinleck’s Alex Fleming and Gary Johnstone, with Irvine and Ayr remaining in their section in the other half of the draw.

In the women’s playdowns, Laidlaw tasted success with Midlothian clubmate Carol Ashby, however Ashby has emigrated to Australia and Laidlaw opted to play with Midlothian international Gaynor Blair. They were in action at West Lothian yesterday and enjoyed comfortable wins, beating Portobello’s Yvonne Nicholson and Margaret Murray 30-7 and then ending the hopes of Balbardie duo Betty Johnstone and Margo Duff 20-12. They will continue today against Abbeyview’s Gemma Forrester and Lynn Lees with Perth and East Fife.

With two more rounds to play today the men’s and women’s winner from each of the Whiteinch, East Kilbride, Bainfield and Aberdeen venues will go forward to the national semi-finals at Fraserburgh at the end of March.