World stage star Ronnie Duncan is a high-profile absentee from the Midlothian team which faces a tough test against Edinburgh challengers Bainfield in today’s quarter-finals of the indoor bowls Scottish Cup.
Midlothian finished two points ahead of their rivals in the recently-completed A Division of the Premier League and won both home and away clashes – but by narrow margins – suggesting another close one is on the cards on neutral territory at East Lothian.
Duncan’s absence has caused a reshuffle that includes team manager Frank Gray promoting former Portobello star Andrew Caldwell from second to third for Graeme Archer.
Jim Cullen was a late call-off against Lanarkshire last weekend but returns to play second in the rink skipped by Billy Peacock.
Rink 1: Jack Macnab, John Stevenson, Lindsay Plenderleith, Colin Walker.
Rink 2: Jamie Macnab, Jim Cullen, AJ Knight, Billy Peacock.
Rink 3: Scott Runciman, Craig Hodge, Andrew Caldwell, Graeme Archer.
Rink 4: Ian Forbes, Ian Fleming, Scott Briggs, David Peacock (cpt).
The Bainfield team was being kept under wraps today, however, spirits are high at their Hutchison Crossway Stadium following a hat-trick of cup wins against Stirling, Cumbernauld and Elgin.
Meanwhile, West Lothian IBC step up their bid for cp glory with a trip to East Kilbride where the opposition comes in the shape of recent Premier League play-off finalists, Falkirk, who represent a major step up in class.
The absence of Cameron Greer and Scott Logan rob West Lothian of two strong leads. However, replacements Connor McKendrick and Jamie Gracie are seasoned campaigners who will strive to reach the high standards both are capable of. The stars from The Inveralmond Stadium in Livingston romped away with the Division 1 North title and have retained that momentum so there is a confidence that a place in the semi-finals is a live prospect.
Rink 1: Bryan Cooper, Grant Knox, Stuart Johnston, James Speirs.
Rink 2: Richard Mark, Raymond Logan, Craig Moss, Mark Allison.
Rink 3: Jamie Gracie, Ian Drysdale, Neil Speirs, Thomas Mann.
Rink 4: Connoor McKendrick, Blair Mackie, Des Hagart, Calum Logan.
The other quarter-finals feature Blantyre v Headwell at Abbeyview and East Kilbride v Cowal at Paisley.