GARY MUIR is one of the best outdoor bowls players on the Lothians circuit, but he will look to transfer his skills indoors this weekend as he appears for East Lothian in the preliminary round of the Scottish Cup against Ardrossan in Coatbridge.
Muir, who plies his trade at Hillside, has been frequently courted by the select teams of Edinburgh & Leith in the summer months, but the 27-year-old has always been reluctant to commit. His decision to wear the East Lothian colours will come as a blow to Portobello and Bainfield, although the fact that bowls glitterati such as Willie Wood MBE, Alex Marshall MBE and Graham Robertson also play at Tranent’s Meadowmill Stadium will no doubt have had a bearing on his final destination.
Furthermore, other top Edinburgh names in Billy Mellors and Andrew Jeffrey have signed up for East Lothian, making Muir’s move more understandable.
Muir has no profile in the indoor version of bowls, but the EL selectors have named him as lead in the rink of Jamie Gordon, Jeffrey and Mellors and with Wood, Marshall, Robertson and other internationalist Scott Kennedy and Derek Oliver also on duty, it is a strong team expected to do the business.
Ardrossan are no minnows, however, having just recently finished top of Division 1F in their recent league campaign, but their record of no cup titles pales in comparison to the five that make East Lothian joint-record holders with West Lothian.
WL, losing finalists to Blantyre last season, face a derby confrontation with Balbardie at Bainfield and the giants of the Premier League are hot favourites to beat the Division 1D strugglers.
Newly-crowned Scottish Singles Champion Thomas Mann captains a full-strength WL line, while Balbardie will operate without stalwart figures Diz Drysdale, David Coats and David Lawrie.
Midlothian struggled in their recent Premier League campaign, but the four-times winners of the cup have David Peacock and Willie Rankin back for tomorrow’s action against Aberdeen at Methil.
Rankin, who has a British Isles title on his CV, comes in at third to Billy Peacock and team manager Frank Gray is optimistic about Midlothian’s chances. Bainfield have been given a walkover against Elgin.
n THE Edinburgh Bowling League has announced the date of their Annual Sportsman’s Dinner to be Friday, March 29 at the Masonic Club, Shrubhill. Speakers are top circuit stars Kenny Clark and Peter Brown. Tickets are priced £20.