Midlothian gents banished any lingering threat of relegation by putting Bainfield to the sword in the A Division of the indoor bowls Premier League.
The Edinburgh outfit were the host club and, by virtue of that, the slight favourites to win against a depleted Midlothian side. However, the final outcome was an 11-shot victory (73-62) for the visitors with the reward being the continuation of the club’s top-flight status.
Both teams entered the match locked on the same points total and sitting on the fringe of the relegation ladder, with Ayr and Alloa occupying the lower rungs. It later became a major bonus for Bainfield that both strugglers lost their penultimate fixture.
The table after nine of the ten fixtures played makes good reading for the Edinburgh elite as it reads: Blantyre 14, Falkirk 14, Midlothian 10, Bainfield 8, Ayr 4, Alloa 4.
Wins on the rinks skipped by Billy Peacock and Colin Walker tipped the scales in favour of a Midlothian team that saw their team captain David Peacock held to a peel and his fellow world stage colleague Graeme Archer suffer a losing return to the club of his formative years.
Manager Frank Gray was as proud as punch at his team’s victory, saying: “Given the circumstances of a depleted line up and the high stakes for both clubs at the outset, I thought the focus and spirit shown by our players was fantastic.”
The headline star of an epic battle emerged in the shape of Billy Peacock, who was a rock-solid anchor that steadied a Midlothian ship that encountered rough waters in a first seven-phase that saw Bainfield sail into a 25-18 lead.
Midlothian managed to stem and turn the tide with a 29-20 capture of the second phase then cruised to a 26-17 supremacy on the third albeit they had to battle to keep Bainfield at bay on that final phase.
A highlight of Billy Peacock skipping Neil Murray, David Salkeld, and Sandy (AJ) Knight to a 19-8 win over Kevin Tennant, Dave McNair, Alex Hurry and James Hogg was strong defensive play that kept his losses down to eight single shots. His phase scoring was 5-4, 7-2, 7-2.
Walker’s best spell was a 10-6 return on the middle phase in game that saw him skip Andy Caldwell, Jimmy Cullen and Lindsay Plenderleith from 13-9 down to a 24-18 win over Mark McIntosh, Danny McCourt, Daniel Gormley and Robert Marshall.
David Peacock only completed 19 of the 21 ends and won nine of them as he skipped Ian Forbes, Keith Stables and Scott Briggs to a 16-16 peel in an exciting tit-for-tat battle with Steven Stewart, Alan Brown, John McDermott and Gavin Smith.
The return of Graeme Archer to his native hunting ground generates great excitement and anticipation but his magic at skip to Scott Runciman, Craig Hodge and John Stevenson wasn’t enough to avoid a 20-14 defeat from Steven Pilley, Tam Ebbs, Craig Paterson and Paul O’Donnell.