Magnificent Midlothian march into semis of Triples

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MIDLOTHIAN IBC remain in contention in the gents Triples discipline of the Scottish Indoor Bowls Championships after a hat trick of wins from star trio Ronnie Duncan, Billy Peacock and Colin Walker over the weekend took them though to the semi-finals.

Midlothian were in brilliant form in the qualifying action at Falkirk and then Livingston as they rattled off fine wins over East Fife, Teviotdale, and Stirling. “We won all three of our games by good margins and although we played exceptionally well as a trio, the major impact was made by Ronnie [Duncan], who was in awesome form and that level of contribution from a lead is worth its weight in gold,” said Walker.

The Midlothian trio received a bye into the first round and launched their campaign at Falkirk against the formidable champions of East Fife and they soon had Gary Mackie, Chris Stein and James Forbes on the back foot.

“We led all the way and built up an extensive lead before giving up some ground but we always had enough in hand to win 27-16,” said Walker.

The transfer of play to the Inveralmond stadium at Livingston for the second round pitched Walker and Co against Stewart Douglas, Peter Laidlaw and Stuart Bebbington of Teviotdale. Midlothian went 15-2 ahead with an explosive start of 4, (2), 4, 2, 1, 1, 3 then their spectacular 28-6 triumph included a late purple patch spell of 3, 1, 5. The next opposition – the section final – came in the shape of Stirling trio David McEwan, Gary Malcolmson and Danny McCormick, who had sprung a major shock by ending the hopes of Bainfield champions Chris Downie, Colin Hutchison, and Gavin Smith.

Bainfield had fired up the already high expectations of their support with crushing 23-9 and 21-13 wins over Fintry and Tweedbank and a pathway into the section final still looked likely when they led Stirling 8-5 after 10-ends.

But the roof was about to cave in on Smith and Co and the danger signal came on end 11 with the loss of a 5 that formed part of an 11-1 avalanche leading to the 16-9 exit of Bainfield.

The section final started well for Walker and Co with the Midlothian trio opening up a 7-1 lead after four ends and having their morale boosted by a neat nudge on the jack by Walker that resulted in a mighty count of 5. Walker was back in the limelight at the ninth end where he conjured up a chap and lie that resulted in a four-shot reward and a healthy lead of 15-4. “That was the turning point in the match for us,” said the skip.

Midlothian then powered into a commanding 20-8 lead before a late hiccup caused them to settle for a 21-17 win and a place on the national finals stage at Coatbridge come March 31.

Blantyre – in the shape of defending champions Brian Irvine Craig Irvine and Iain McLean – now stand between Midlothian and a place in the final. Coatbridge meet Stonehaven in the other semi-final.