Bowls: Cup dream ends for Porty as Falkirk show their class

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Portobello’s dream of winning the indoor bowls Scottish Cup proved to be short-lived after the Division 2 club suffered a 91-65 defeat from Premier League side Falkirk in the preliminary round.

However, the clash at the Inveralmond stadium in Livingston wasn’t a totally one-sided affair as Portobello did make a winning impression on one of their four rinks.

Stuart Betts was the successful skip but his was a lone victory with his colleagues Willie McDonald, Andrew Caldwell and Chris Steven all failing to get to grips with their respective opposition.

Falkirk have been the surprise package in the recently completed section play-offs of the Premier League, having iced their debut season in the higher echelons of the sport by reaching the play-off final – and therefore were firm favourites to see off Portobello.

Portobello did show a glimpse of punching above their weight to edge the second phase 28-25, but suffered a severe 33-21 and 33-16 reversal on the first and third stages of the match.

The major concern of the unfolding problems faced by the Division 2 underdogs was the blitz start by former East Lothian star Steven Glen, who gave Falkirk a tremendous boost by racing into a 15-2 lead over Steven, whose rink of Euan Murray, Barry Smythe and George Johnstone continued to be mesmerised by Glen’s play. By the 13th end, they were deep in trouble at 23-7 down. However, they did make a brief rally of 1, 2, 1 to 11.

But Glen – a player of international reputation – has the killer instinct in his play and he answered with a 4 then pressed on to inflict 31-12 hammering on Steven and Portobello.

McDonald was doing well for a spell and skipped Wood, BJ Smith and Gordon Bold into a 14-11 lead over Jim McHutchison after 15 ends. The roof, however, caved in with the dramatic loss of a 6 then a 4 and the price paid was a 21-16 defeat.

Caldwell lost an early 5 but otherwise made an encouraging start to skip Ross Thomson, Andrew Davie, and David Brown into a 9-8 lead after eight ends against Gary Flynn.

But the wheels started to come off with the loss of 1, 1, 5 and, finding themselves bogged down on the run-in, crashed to a 25-15 defeat.

Meanwhile, Betts was producing a bold challenge to skip Ian Fleming, Josh Spalding and Jamie Reid from 4-4 to 15-4 with a run of 2, 3, 2, 1, 3 and although that pace wasn’t sustained, did well to return a 22-13 victory.