Bowls: Midlothian crash to defeat in Auchinleck

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It’s not that long ago that Midlothian dominated the ladies indoor bowls Premier League scene with a hat-trick of title wins in 2005/6/7 and again in 2010/11/12, but a lean spell since looks set to continue following last weekend’s defeat by Auchinleck.

The west-coast outfit emerged clear cut winners, celebrating an 101-63 triumph that pushed them two points clear of the chasing pack, while Midlothian’s third defeat left them four points adrift of the leaders.

Midlothian had lost the first match of the season at home to Auchinleck, so expectations of gaining revenge on their visit to Ayrshire weren’t high and not helped by the absence of several major players including international stars Jeanette Conlan and Sandra McLeish along with May Brownlee, Liz France and Pat and Susan Liddle.

Midlothian took the chance to give further experience to teenagers Elle Borthwick and Lorna Goldsmith and in terms of sheer determination, the presence of Charlene Williamson so soon after undergoing surgery was both admirable and commendable.

“We travelled knowing that a win by 15 shots would put us top of the league on shot margin and we did have a self-belief, but knowing it was a tall order for a team line-up that due to circumstances was experimental,” said spokeswoman Shona Johnstone.

Johnstone and fellow skips Stacey McDougall and Margaret Porter all lost, while Annie Rutheford got a peel.

The first phase of the match flashed a warning single to Midlothian, with the visitors 29-20 adrift on the master scoreboard after the opening seven-ends and their situation became more dire as the home team dominated the second phase 37-15.

Midlothian enjoyed their best spell on the third and final phase, but still didn’t get the measure of an opposition that wont it 35-28.

McDougall (Stacey) and her rink of Lorna Goldsmith, Mary Clement and Alison Plenderleith suffered extremely lean times in a crushing 33-11 against Sophie William.

Johnstone (Shona) and her front-three of Elle Borthwick, Charlene Williamson and Janette McVicar were within striking distance at 9-9 and 12-15, but only added one shot for the loss of 9 on the run in and lost 24-13 to Hannah Smith.

Porter (Margaret) carded 2, 5 to skip Sandra Muir, Norma Shillinglaw and Grace McGregor into contention at 14-17 after 15-ends and caused a stir with another five at end 19 to peel at 20-20, but slipped to a 25-20 defeat from Heather Kay.

Rutherford (Annie) carried the fight to skip Dorothy Miller, Elaine Young and Annette Wilson into a 15-12 lead after 15-ends, but settled for a 19-19 peel with Isabel McKnight.