Bainfield’s elite Premier League indoor bowls team team lost their unbeaten record at foot-of-the-table Inverclyde, who were without a win in their two opening matches.
The 81-68 result in favour of the home side was a shock scoreline that casts doubt on the expectations that Bainfield are serious contenders to finish top of the A section.
Team manager John Bell missed the debacle as he was at a family event in Greece, but given his team’s opening wins over Blantyre and Midlothian he was stunned on learning that his experienced team had failed to deliver against the weakest of the three.
“I still don’t know the ins and outs of our poor performance as the scorecards weren’t brought back for me to assess but the defeat cost us the chance to go two points clear at the top and at this level you have to take your chances,” said Bell on his return.
Bainfield will look to bounce back this weekend but face a stiffer task with a visit to Aberdeen. The absence of iconic figure Robert Marshall is a major concern for Bell but the strength and experience of the Bainfield line-up is still formidable.
Zak Abro comes in for his campaign debut and plays second to Craig Paterson, Alan Brown and James Hogg, while team captain Paul O’Donnell skips Neil Watson, Brian Stoddart, and Kevin Tennant.
Gavin Smith skips Chris Downie, Stephen Pringle and John McDermott, while Daniel Gormley, Steven Pilley, and Craig Moss form the front three for Colin Hutchison.
Midlothian share bottom spot with Aberdeen and Inverclyde on the two-point mark but hope to improve their position at Dalkeith, where they welcome joint-leaders Blantyre, who share top spot with West Lothian and Bainfield.
Team manager Frank Gray seldom enjoys the luxury of fielding a full-strength team and his excitement of welcoming the return of key man David Peacock is tempered by the unavailability of fellow internationalist Colin Walker.
Andrew Caldwell also returns to the line-up, with the former Portobello star playing second in the rink of Ian Forbes, Derek Munro, and Sandy (AJ) Knight. Gary Thomson is the player who makes way for Caldwell.
East Lothian suffered a surprise defeat at home to Ardrossan but, despite missing world stage star Alex Marshall MBE, are expected to bounce back against Paisley in their B section match at the Meadowmill Stadium.
The home support will be cheered up though by the return of inspirational figures Derek Oliver and Steven Morgan while Jamie Gordon and Colin Cook come in for seasonal debuts with Jamie Blair, Tom Young, and Kieran Simants stood down.
Balbardie are undefeated in Division 1C and attempting to make it four wins in a row when they visit Headwell, who are also undefeated, making the head to head of great relevance to the promotion prospects of both teams.
The visitors have a big pre-match boost with the news from team manager Bill Black that top-notch trio Graeme Byrne, Walter McDougall and Jimmy Mallon make a return to the Balbardie line-up.