Bowls: Peacock struts his stuff to bolster Midlothian’s cause

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Midlothian Indoor Bowls Club’s campaign in the Scottish Cup remains alive and kicking with the four-times winners of the knock-out trophy marching into the second round with a 12-shot victory (82-70) over East Kilbride at Abbeyview (Dunferlmine) on Saturday.

Reports of Midlothian’s demise in the preliminary round of the event were unfounded and probably acted as a spur for last season’s Premier League Champions, for whom complacency was the enemy against much weaker opposition.

East Kilbride did come into the match as no-hopers given that they had finished bottom of the Division 1C league having managed just two wins from their ten fixtures. However, in this event they packed a punch well above that which the form book suggested.

“I was greatly impressed by the form and enthusiasm of East Kilbride and surprised at how difficult we found it to get on top of them as the match was played out on a tightrope for 17 of the 21 ends,” said Midlothian team manager Frank Gray.

Midlothian came into the cup-tie missing two valuable players, with Graeme Archer off on a trip to Australia and Ian Brown currently concentrating on golf which is keeping him away from the indoor carpet at Dalkeith.

The team structure wasn’t all doom and gloom, though, with the morale boosted by the decision of iconic figure David Peacock to make himself available having missed almost all of the league campaign.

“David has an immense presence on the carpet and always brings a lift to the Midlothian team and, of course, strikes fear in opposition camps,” said Gray.

Peacock did demonstrate his value by skipping his rink to a victory that was supported by Sandy (AJ) Knight. Just as well, because fellow skips Colin Walker and Willie Rankin were both held to a peel.

The phase scoring pays East Kilbride a massive compliment with Midlothian only managing to edge the first seven ends 26-25, then the second 29-26, before reacting to the pressure and capturing the third 27-19.

The major moment of the match came as late as the 18th end, where Midlothian carded eight shots across their four rinks without reply to move into a double-figure lead (12) for the first time.

Knight always had daylight in his favour from 5-0 up after two ends and from 13-8 skipped Ian Forbes, David Salkeld and Scott Runciman to an 18-11 win over Tommy Notman.

Peacock found his opposition difficult to cope with in the early stages and trailed 14-8 before sparking a revival with a run of 1, 4, 3 then sustained that momentum to skip Mark Yuill, Sandy Dippie and Lindsay Plenderleith to a 22-17 win over Ian McLeish.

Walker was asked to step up the pace from 14-11 down and did so well enough to skip Martin Wyllie, Drew Pearson and Billy Peacock to a 19-19 peel with Norrie McLeish.

Rankin faced disaster at 13-1 down after six ends but more than stemmed the tide with a storming run of 3, 3, 4, 1, 3 then skipped Jamie Macnab, Scott Matthews and Ronnie Duncan to a 23-23 share with Andy Elliot.