Bowls: Bainfield back with a bang as top-flight status secured

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Mission accomplished – and in great style too as Edinburgh bowling club Bainfield celebrated their return to the Premier League with a commanding 86-64 win over Balbardie at Bathgate in Division 1B of the national indoor bowls league.

It was the final game of the ten-match programme and Bainfield lead from start to finish making it nine wins and one away defeat. “We peaked at 30 shots up after ten ends and we were always in control against a team that has finished third in the league,” said team manager John Bell.

A major highlight as Bainfield made an immediate return to the top flight was the consistency of Gavin Smith and his rink of Chris Downie, Stephen Pringle and Alan Brown, who won all of their ten games.

“That’s no easy feat at any level of the sport and it was a great bonus for us to have an anchor rink that was steadfast and sure, especially on trips away from home,” added Bell, who was forced to make two late changes with call-offs from John Kidd and Paul Millar resulting in Willie Garden and Colin Gilchrist coming in to join other fresh faces in Russell Wilson and Craig Aitken.

Wins for the rinks skipped by Smith, Paul O’Donnell and Robert Marshall made it a dawdle for a Bainfield team that did have to cope with the ten-shot defeat of Colin Hutchison.

Balbardie edged the second seven-end phase 28-26 but that didn’t tarnish the 32-16 and 28-20 success of Bainfield on the first and third.

Smith and his front-three gave themselves an early boost with a 5 at the third end then a healthy 15-4 lead after nine was converted into a 25-13 win over Walter McDougall.

O’Donnell, captain for the day in the absence of Craig Moss, made a whiz-bang start to lead 9-0 then, adding a 6 at the tenth, he went on to skip Wilson, Aitken, and Stevie McLeod to a 26-15 win over Sandy McDougall. Marshall suffered a seven-end barren spell mid match but only trailed 12-11 and he compensated with a storming finish of 1, 2, 3, 1, 1, 2 to skip Neil Watson, Garden, and John McDermott to a 21-12 win over Andy Forrest.

Hutchison and his rink of Craig Paterson, Gilchrist, and Jamie Aitken lost their way from 9-5 up and slithered to a 24-14 defeat to Graeme Keery.

Meanwhile, East Fife lost 120-85 at Teviotdale and paid the price with automatic relegation while Cumbernauld’s 80-71 win over Stirling failed to save them from finishing in the relegation play-off place.