Bowls: Watson alert to the threat from Borders

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EDINBURGH & Leith bid to pick up their campaign when they tackle Borders at Sighthill tomorrow in the East section of The Scottish Cities & Counties Championship.

One win and two defeats has been a disappointing start, but team manager Willie Watson takes comfort from the fact that there is still some way to go.

“Midlothian did us all a favour last weekend by inflicting a first defeat on West Lothian and although Fife have won three in a row they face some challenging times ahead, so we don’t lack incentive to beat Borders.”

Robert Donaldson is unavailable but Watson is happy that last weekend’s late call-off, James Hogg, is a ready-made replacement. Colin Hutchison is switched from skip to play third to Paul O’Donnell in place of Alan Brown, who moves over to fill the shoes of Donaldson and play third to Mal Higgenbotham, while Hogg skips in place of Hutchison.

“Borders have beaten East Lothian and given West Lothian a big fright, so we can’t afford to underestimate the danger they pose. However, home advantage gives us an edge,” said Watson.

West Lothian would normally be a strong fancy to beat Fife even on away territory, but they are seriously weakened as a result of Bowls Scotland staging a 4 Nations Test series at Kelvingrove which is costing them the services of three ace skips in the shape of Grant Logan, Neil Speirs and Thomas Mann, while stalwart cap figure George Sneddon assists Bowls Scotland coach David Gourlay.

Team manager Jimmy Mallon has promoted Gary Smith, Mark Allison and Calum Logan to fill the three vacancies at skip while recalling Peter Lynch and giving campaign starts to Frazer Muirhead, Gary Orr and Andrew Semple.

Midlothian hope to follow up their win over West Lothian by adding the scalp of West Fife at Gorebridge, but they are also victims of the Bowls Scotland scheduling with Ronnie Duncan and Colin Walker claimed for duty at Kelvingrove.

Team manager Frank Gray has promoted Bryan Wyllie to skip and Stewart Clark to third in place of the absent two while Neil Gibson is recalled and Scott Ritchie handed a debut.

East Lothian stumbled to an away defeat against Borders but are expected to do better against Stirling County East at Carron & Carronshore.