Bainfield produced a spirited away performance that restored pride to their damaged reputation of late, but a narrow 88-85 defeat at Blantyre still makes it four defeats in a row in the A section of the indoor bowls Premier League.
The club still share the bottom rung with Inverclyde and Midlothian, but the quality of display brings hope of a future escape to safety.
“Blantyre have only lost one game at home in 36 and recent form lines gave us little hope, but we managed to give them such a huge fright that it seems like a moral victory for us,” said team manager John Bell.
“The major scoreboard showed us 22 shots adrift on two occasions – ends 9 and 13 – but instead of folding we fought back with such tenacity that we came close to stealing a victory with the match score standing 86-85 against entering the 21st end of the final rink.”
Bell was thrilled by a united effort of enthusiasm that seemed extremely unlikely when ace player James Hogg and emerging talent Stephen Pringle became late call-offs that had the manager scrambling to put a team together.
Robert Marshall, Brian Stoddart and Alan Brown were already absent so Bainfield travelled to Blantyre with a makeshift team. But the SOS call-ups in the shape of Ewan Craig, Craig Aitken, Colin Gilchrist and Darren McKenny all played well.
Bell had to recast his line-up resulting in Craig Moss being promoted and asked to skip Neil Watson, debutant Ewan Craig and Kevin Tennant while Gilchrist at second and McKenny at third joined lead Daniel Gormley and skip Colin Hutchison. Craig Paterson was switched from lead to play third to team captain Paul O’Donnell with Craig Aitken making his seasonal debut at second and Zak Abro moving down to lead.
The rink of Chris Downie, Mark McIntosh, John McDermott and Gavin Smith was left undisturbed.
A good win for Moss and well-earned peel for Smith gave the travelling support something to shout about while Hutchison and O’Donnell restricted the margin of their respective defeats to single figures.
Hutchison’s attempt to achieve a double-bowl take out conversion with his final delivery of the match was only denied by a fraction.
Having put Hutchison and Co under pressure at 15-8 up after 11 ends, opposition skip Iain McLean became hard pressed to hang on and beat the Bainfield rink 24-21.
O’Donnell and his front-three did well to close from 18-7 to 18-14 with five ends to play but couldn’t sustain their revival and slipped to a 25-16 defeat to Scott Bishop.
Moss skipped his rink to a 17-17 share after 15 ends then produced a finishing spell of 1, 6, 1, (1), 1, 1 to inflict a 27-18 defeat on Brian Irvine.
Smith and his rink were fighting against the collar for most of the match but kept within touching distance and a 2, 2 finish saw them snatch a 21-21 peel with Jim McCann.
The phase scoring saw Bainfield lose the first seven ends 38-22 and the second 31-30 but come roaring back to dominate the third 33-19.