Midlothian suffer last-bowl agony in Scottish Cup final

Colin Walker was denied on the final end
Colin Walker was denied on the final end
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Midlothian gents suffered a heartbreaking last-bowl defeat against Falkirk in the final of the indoor bowls Scottish Cup at Perth.

Wins on the rinks skipped by Graham Archer and team captain David Peacock should have put Midlothian in the driving seat but didn’t do so because of a damaging shot-margin mauling suffered by Ronnie Duncan. To rub salt in their wounds, the perpetrator of the 14-shot punishment dished out to Duncan and his rink of Jack Macnab, James Cullen and Billy Peacock was former East Lothian bowler Steven Glen.

Meanwhile, Midlothian’s Colin Walker and his front three of David Salkeld, John Stevenson and Lindsay Plenderleith had played out of their skins in the early exchanges to achieve a commanding 17-6 lead over the opposition rink of Barry McArthur, Alastair Penn, Gary Stirling and skip John McHutchison.

Midlothian were showing 50-42 ahead on the aggregate at this 13-end stage but the pendulum started to swing against both leads with Falkirk carding a 10-2 at the 14th (making it 52-52) that included a mighty count of 5 against Walker.

Walker suffered a loss of 1, 3, (2), 1, 2, 2 that resulted in the Midlothian rink coming under severe pressure at 20-19 down playing the last.

The naked eye suggested that Midlothian might be holding a single for peels, with Walker still one bowl to play.

McHutchison was first to play his last bowl and his aggressive strike targeted the jack and, to the delight of his Falkirk support, buried it in the ditch.

It was a spectacular delivery that became an even more stunning blow to Midlothian as the bowl and jack ended up on the extreme of a rink that, on the fast-running conditions, meant Walker was left facing an impossible task to draw even the single shot now needed to force an extra end across the carpet.

Had McHutchison’s last-bowl effort been unproductive, then Walker would have delivering to win both game and title instead of attempting to pull off mission impossible.

While Midlothian missed out on a fifth cup win, no-one will grudge Falkirk their 6-4 triumph and first taste of major glory given their history as runners-up in the Premier League in season 2012, 2016 and 2017.

Walker’s scoreline collapse to a 23-19 defeat from 17-6 up had followed the 22-8 hammering of fellow world stage star Ronnie Duncan, both defeats being the major factor in being outgunned 75-68 on the aggregate score.

David Peacock skipped Ian Forbes, Ian Fleming and Scott Briggs to a 21-15 win over Gary Flynn while Archer skipped Scott Runciman, Craig Hodge and Andy Caldwell to a 20-17 success over Gary Smith.