Bowls: Midlothian shine bright in Scots Cup

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Midlothian lit up their challenge for the indoor bowls Scottish Cup with a performance that sentenced Aberdeen to an 82-71 defeat in the preliminary round at Dundee.

“There were concerns like taking our foot off the accelerator sooner than was acceptable to me but we did lead from start to finish against a fellow Premier League club and a high peak of 29 shots did give us a cushion,” said Midltothian team manager Frank Gray.

He also had to take on board the fact that the rinks skipped by AJ (Sandy) Knight and Willie Rankin both lost. However, wins for Graeme Archer and Colin Walker more than compensated.

Midlothian, boosted by home and away wins over Aberdeen in their Premier League campaign, soon showed that neutral territory wasn’t going to prevent a hat-trick by capturing the first seven-end phase 34-23.

The second phase saw Midlothian increase their grip on the match with a 37-19 return that had their support singing their praises at 29 shots up, but the killer instinct was missing on the third allowing Aberdeen to impress with a 29-11 fightback.

The pre-match spotlight on the Midlothian line up focused on the decision of leading figure David Peacock to opt out of his normal position of skip and elect instead to play third to his fellow world stage figure Graeme Archer.

“David hasn’t been available to us on a regular basis this season and took the view that he preferred not to ‘jockey off’ one of the regular skips,” said Gray.

Archer didn’t quite turn in a sweepstake winning performance but came mighty close as he skipped Calum Crawford, Sandy Dippie, and Peacock to a splendid 25-15 win over Jimmy Douglas.

An early highlight saw Archer and Co card a mighty 5 at the fourth end to lead 9-2, then a later run of 1, 2, 2, (2), 1, 1 stretched them 23-12 ahead after 17 ends.

Colin Walker produced the sweepstake winning performance but just by a nose as he skipped Mark Wyllie, Lindsay Plenderleith, and Billy Peacock to a 26-15 triumph over Roy Henry.

Walker and Co enjoyed their best moments with a purple patch run of 4, 3, 2, 1, 3, 1 that thrust them from 11-9 to 25-9 after 15 ends.

Willie Rankin, meanwhile, was looking in fine fettle for a win having skipped Jamie Macnab, Mark Yuill, and Ronnie Duncan into a 14-11 ascendancy over Mark Stephen but a late collapse cost them a 17-15 defeat.

AJ Knight and his rink of Ian Forbes, David Salkeld, and Scott Runciman celebrated carding super 6 at end 14 but that was their only highlight in a 24-16 defeat from A McKay.