Bowls: Balbardie set for play-off with Ardrossan

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Promotion to the elite status of the indoor bowls Premier League is the ultimate target for Bathgate-based club Balbardie – but there are two hurdles to clear, the first of which presents itself in the shape of Ardrossan in a play-off match at Coatbridge tomorrow.

Balbardie qualified for the play-offs as champions of the Division 1C league, having won eight out of ten to pip East Lothian by a single point, while Ardrossan topped Division 1E having won nine out of ten to finish two points clear of Paisley.

The Bathgate club travel to Coatbridge with four enforced changes from the team that made a narrow exit to Bainfield in last weekend’s Scottish Cup tie, but the players that have come in have previous experience.

The players missing are Anna White, Elise Millar, Nan Mitchell and Ally Blagg, while their replacements are Helen Keys, Josi Bachini, Margaret Scally and Morven Shearer.

“It’s a new experience for us to be playing against Ardrossan, and Ayrshire teams are always competitive by tradition,” said Margo Duff for Balbardie. “But we are ready to give this knockout tie our best shot, and travel with confidence that our much changed line-up will settle quickly to the challenge.”

Rink 1: Catherine Lochran, Jean Stevenson, Kim Ross, and Sharon Leitch.

Rink 2: Christine Smellie, Lynn Sinclair, Margaret Scally, and Delia Flannigan.

Rink 3: Marie Adams, Helen Keys, Josi Bachini, and Pat Purdie.

Rink 4: Betty Johnston, Gillian Hamilton, Morven Shearer, and Margo Duff.

The winner goes forward on Sunday, March 15 to meet Coatbridge, who won eight out of ten to finish four points clear of West of Scotland at the top of Division 1D.

• THE sad passing of Gorgie Mills bowler John Crawford at the age of 79 has robbed the sport in Edinburgh of a weel-kent figure who was club champion on two occasions, and in 1989, enhanced his profile by winning the City Of Edinburgh Open Title at Balgreen – defeating Graeme Archer of Sighthill in an epic final.

Niddrie BC is mourning the loss of 52-year-old Gary Swain, who was a major force in club affairs and, as well as him being a prolific six-times singles champion, also served the office of president, leading to him being made an honorary president.