Midlothian took a giant step towards securing their status as an indoor bowls Premier League club for next season with a seven-shot victory (88-81) over fellow strugglers Alloa in their A Division clash at The Dalkeith Stadium.
Wins on the rinks skipped by Colin Walker and Ronnie Duncan inspired the Midlothian victory, although the home support were stunned by a thumping defeat sustained by Graeme Archer and a lesser setback suffered by team captain David Peacock.
“We treated this as a must-win fixture and with home advantage we were expected to deliver, but it was far from plain sailing against a team also fighting for survival,” said team manager Frank Gray.
Gray had to reshuffle his team when Billy Peacock called off late, with Martin Wyllie stepping up from the bench.
Alloa belied their position at the foot of the table by putting up a strong show in the opening stages and an early supremacy over Archer and Peacock helped the visitors to a 25-22 capture of the first seven-end phase.
The middle phase of the match confirmed that Midlothian were only firing on two of their four cylinders, but a high-octane performance from the Walker-skipped rink produced a 22-4 contribution that fired up the home team effort.
Midlothian’s 38-23 return across the carpet gave them a 12-shot ascendancy (60-48) entering a third and final phase which Alloa edged 33-28.
“We conceded 12 shots without reply on the final end across the carpet and that level of collapse in a home environment setting is worrying factor. However, we go into the last two fixtures sitting four points and a healthy number of shots ahead of both Ayr and Alloa,” summed up Gray.
Walker and his rink of Jack Macnab, Andy Caldwell and Lindsay Plenderleith stole the show with an explosive display that powered them to a massive 38-12 victory over Neil Solomon having zipped from 1-2 to 27-2 in the space of 10-ends then from 27-8 to 38-8 with a run of 2, 2, 3, 4.
Duncan picked up from 9-9 to 16-9, then just managed to hold on and skip Scott Runciman, Wyllie and John Stevenson to a 19-17 win over Kris Storff.
Archer and his rink of Ian Forbes, David Salkeld and Sandy (AJ) Knight were soon toiling at 18-6 down and their 29-12 defeat at the hands of Ian Inglis included the nightmare loss of 6, 2, 1 on the run in.
Peacock and his front-three of Jamie Macnab, Craig Hodge and Scott Briggs trailed 17-8 before losing 23-20 to Kevin Wallace having carded a vital count of six on end 17.
The league table reads: Blantyre 12, Falkirk 12, Midlothian 8, Bainfield 8, Ayr 4, Alloa 4.