Bowls: Midlothian inspired by world stars’ world title bid

Ronnie Duncan and Colin Walker are going for World pairs glory

Ronnie Duncan and Colin Walker are going for World pairs glory

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Ronnie Duncan and Colin Walker will attempt to clinch world title glory when they line up in the final of the Gents Pairs at Potters Leisure Resort on Monday – but their commitments down south deny Midlothian manager Frank Gray a full-strength line-up for today’s crucial indoor bowls Premier League match.

The membership at large is on tenterhooks ahead of Duncan and Walker’s bid to capture a world crown but Midlothian enter the penultimate fixture of the national league campaign needing a win over Lanarkshire to keep up the pressure on joint Division A leaders Blantyre.

Midlothian are in fine form with seven wins out of eight and are bidding to extend their undefeated record at home to five. They are favourites to do so against relegation-zoned visitors, who have lost all four of their previous away games.

But Lanarkshire are at an unfamiliar end of the league table and incentivised their escape ambitions with a vastly-improved performance at home last weekend to beat star-studded West Lothian 87-71.

“We can’t afford to sleepwalk into this fixture as it is certainly fraught with danger so my message to the players is to stay 100 per cent focused,” said Gray.

Midlothian:

Rink 1: Dougie Russell, Neil Linton, Danny McDougall, Billy Peacock.

Rink 2: Jack Macnab, Kevin McDougall, Andy Caldwell, Colin Macfarlane.

Rink 3: Jamie Macnab, Ryan Yuill, Craig Hodge, David Peacock.

Rink 4: Ian Forbes (c), Ian Fleming, Lindsay Plenderleith, Sandy (AJ) Knight.

Recent three-in-a-row champions West Lothian have now lost six out of eight despite their team boasting five current internationalists plus many others of high profile and now find themselves sharing the second-bottom wrung with Lanarkshire.

Today’s fixture presents the perfect opportunity to ease their miseries as they have home advantage over their Arbroath visitors, who have only managed one win out of eight and, with two points, prop up the table.

West Lothian:

Rink 1: Bryan Cooper, Dougie Mitchell, Paul O’Donnell, Neil Speirs.

Rink 2: Richard Mark, Ian Drysdale, Stuart Johnston, Mark Allison.

Rink 3: Cameron Greer, Raymond Logan, Des Hagart, Calum Logan.

Rink 4: Craig Moss, Grant Knox, James Speirs, Thomas Mann.

Balbardie gents bounced back to winning form with a resounding 30-shot home victory over Turriff and, as joint leaders with Alloa, it keeps them in the hunt for top honours in Division 1 North.

Today’s penultimate fixture presents a golden opportunity for Balbardie to sustain their challenge as they host a Stirling team deep in the relegation zone albeit four points ahead of bottom club Perth. Alloa are away to third placed Coatbridge, who are undefeated at home.