Bowls: It’s judgment day for Bainfield

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Bainfield gents face a hectic weekend of indoor bowls and the outcomes are of major importance with today’s first-round Scottish Cup engagement followed tomorrow by a do-or-die bid to preserve the club’s status as a member of the Premier League.

Whilst the romance and excitement of a spirited cup campaign has its obvious attractions, advancement into the second round will play second fiddle to the Edinburgh club’s desire to end its flirtation with the threat of relegation.

“Having finished second bottom in our division of the Premier League, we now enter the last-chance saloon at Cumbernauld tomorrow in a playoff shoot-out against East Kilbride,” said player manager Gavin Smith.

EK’s league record of six wins out of ten doesn’t read like the form line of a team that is on the march to better times. However, Bainfield have been no great shakes in the PL, with Smith admitting that his team must put some dire performances behind them and up their game.

The absence of high-profile stalwart figures Robert Marshall and Alan Brown needs to be coped with, but Smith is upbeat that his team selection represents a strong-hand in terms of talented skills and mental toughness.

Bainfield make the short journey to Livingston for today’s Scottish Cup tie against Bathgate-based Balbardie IBC, who having finished top of Division 1North will enjoy Premier League status next season.

“Now is the time for us to find and produce the vital spark that has been missing all season,” said Smith, “and my hope is that we can go into the match against East Kilbride on a the high of a cup win.”

Rink 1: Tam Ebbs, Kerr McKail, Daniel Gormley, and John McDermott.

Rink 2: Steven Pilley, Steven Rennie, James Hogg, and Colin Hutchison.

Rink 3: Graeme McIntosh, Colin Tennant, Brian Stoddart, and Gavin Smith.

Rink 4: Mark McIntosh, Josh Spalding, Kevin Tennant, and Craig Pateron.

Balbardie are primed to test themselves against opposition of Premier League status but do so without regular stars Sandy McDougall, Gary Orr, and Graham Keery. Steven Fleming, Tam Whitfield and Andy Jenkins come in.

Rink 1: Stuart Ford, Andy Forrest, Davie Ross, and Ewan Shearer.

Rink 2: John Black, Duncan Smith, Steven Fleming, and, and Mark Bonar.

Rink 3: Andy Jenkins, Lindsay Forrest, Jim Speirs, and Brian Craig.

Rink 4: Tam Whitfield, Craig Sinclair, John Ellis, and Walter McDougall.