Portobello face a tension-filled climax to their indoor bowls Division 1C League programme tomorrow as the table leaders need to avoid defeat against chief rivals Abbeyview to clinch their place in the promotion playoffs.
“It’s a do or die fixture for both teams, but we have home carpet advantage, so the pressure of expectation is on us to deliver a result that turns our current one-point lead into a league winners celebration,” said Portobello spokesman Robert Wood.
Wood continues to be an absentee from the team due to health reasons and his duty of team organiser is further complicated by the absence of Euan Murray and Andy Davie who are both out of the country at present.
“I am not overly concerned by the loss of two highly valued regulars as their replacements are both top quality players in the shape of Jamie Reid and Craig McCall,” said Wood.
The atmosphere at the seaside venue is sure to be akin to that of a cup final and the team bidding to keep the home support happy reads:
Rink 1: Ross Thomson Billy Dunleavy Ian Fleming and Andrew Caldwell.
Rink 2: Craig McCall Barry Smythe Kevin Hunter and George Johnston.
Rink 3: Jamie Reid Dean Mackintosh Gordon Bold and Chris Steven.
Rink 4: David McLeod Scott Rogers David Brown and Stuart Betts.
Bainfield’s status as a Premier League club is secure going into their final fixture; however, they will finish in a very credible third place in the highly competitive A section if able to beat East Lothian at the Hutchison Crossway stadium.
“It would be a feather in our cap to leapfrog East Lothian, but having lost heavily twice to section winners West Lothian my real hope is to show that we can take on the big teams and live with them. The match is also a primer for the Scottish Cup campaign,” said team manager John Bell.
Top players Alan Brown and Gavin Smith are unavailable, but Bell is delighted that star duo Stevie McLeod and James Hogg return to the line-up.
East Lothian recall budding star Calum Darling in place of the unavailable Scott Kennedy in a team headed up by four high-profile skips in Willie Wood MBE, Graham Robertson, Derek Oliver and Billy Mellors.
Midlothian are anxious to stay competitive ahead of their Premier League survival battle against Garioch and welcome back David Salkeld and icon David Peacock for their match against Falkirk at Dalkeith.
Meanwhile, Balbardie IBC experienced another great moment in their history with the Bathgate-based club celebrating the Scottish title win of Sharon Leitch and Lorraine Malloy in the 2 Bowl Pairs Championship that climaxed at Falkirk.