Bowls: Portobello bury pre-match nerves to beat Tweedbank

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Portobello came into the national indoor bowls league system a week later than the others in Division 1C so are 
delighted to have hit the ground running with a 91-74 victory at home to Tweedbank.

Tweedbank arrived with a superb 99-49 home win over Headwell under their belts but spent most of this match in the slipstream of Portobello.

Portobello team organiser Robert Wood said: “There are always apprehensions ahead of the opening match so I am more than happy that we produced a solid team performance.

“I was greatly encouraged that Brian Hunter made an excellent debut for us and that Kevin Hunter showed good promise on his return to the limelight while teenager Dean Mackintosh had a great game.”

Generous Wood stood himself down to accommodate George Johnston when he found that the former stadium champion had become available. Wins for the rinks skipped by Stuart Betts, Chris Steven and Andrew Caldwell made it a good afternoon for the home crowd while the only setback was a narrow defeat for Ian Fleming.

The phase scoring highlights Tweedbank’s potential as the visitors made the stronger start to edge the first seven ends, 31-28, but Portobello started to come good with a 29-19 reply on the second. They pressed on at the business end of the match and, helped by a 6-0 clean sweep at the 18th, they increased their match lead to 17 shots on the major scoreboard and dominated the third phase 35-24.

Betts skipped Craig McCall, David McLeod and Jamie Reid into a commanding 14-4 lead after nine ends then found further acceleration to beat Ross Nichol 29-15.

Steven looked certain to end up as the dip in a roller-coaster confrontation that saw him being thrashed 20-5 after ten ends by Kenny Johnstone but he staged a spectacular fightback to score a 27-22 victory.

It started with a run of 2, 3, 4, 1 to 15-20 then, answering the loss of a 2, he then skipped Euan Murray, Dean Mackintosh and Gordon Bold to a whirlwind finish of 4, 1, 1, 4, 1, 1.

Caldwell carded a mighty 5 at the eighth to skip Brian Hunter, Scott Rogers and David Brown into a 10-4 lead over Neil McNally but it was all to play for at 15-13 down before the home rink edged a 17-16 win with a single at the last. Fleming and his rink of George Johnston, Barry Smythe and Kevin Hunter went from 13-5 up to 15-13 down but crossed 18-15 before conceding 4, 1, 1, to lose 21-18 to Robert Crawford.

Headwell beat Teviotdale 102-60 in the other Division 1C match.