Bowls: Portobello seniors edge out Midlothian by skin of teeth

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Portobello held their nerve in a knife-edge climax to beat Midlothian 59-58 in the East B section of the National Seniors indoor bowls League.

With never much between the teams, Portobello edged the first seven-end phase 17-15, scraped the second 21-20 but lost the third 20-19 and the short run in 3-2. However, victories for the rinks skipped by Ian Paterson and Tony McLaren made the difference, just covering the defeat of Ronnie Douglas and BJ Smith.

Paterson made the major contribution as he skipped Eddie Tomany, Gordon McCathie and Keith Young to a 22-7 win that included a run from 7-6 to 22-6 against Willie Dunn. McLaren skipped Jimmy Marshall, Davy McLeod, and George Gray into an 11-4 lead and then answered a growing menace at 14-10 with a 3, 1 reply that set up a 20-12 victory over Alex Cox.

Midlothian were kept well in the hunt by a 21-7 win for Willie Burnett over Douglas that was supported by an 18-10 success for George Cairns against Smith. The result damaged Midlothian’s challenge to finish top of the league as they now trail qualifying favourites East Lothian by five points, while Portobello’s fifth win in nine games leaves them one point further adrift on ten.

East Lothian enjoyed a spectacular 118-40 win over Teviotdale at Tranent while, in a derby, Balbardie dished out an 86-35 defeat to West Lothian at Bathgate. Edinburgh club Bainfield are third, four points off the main pace and one adrift of Balbardie following a battling 63-59 away victory over Tweedbank.

Play in the A section of the Premier League saw East Lothian keep leaders West Lothian in their sights with an impressive 90-63 away victory over Paisley.

Double-figure wins for the rinks skipped by Derek Oliver and Graham Robertson, plus a hard-earned peel by Willie Wood, more than covered the defeat of Alex Marshall.

“This is our best performance of the campaign as Paisley were undefeated at home and we stay level on points with Blantyre and just two adrift of West Lothian with four games to play,” said a spokesman for East Lothian.

West Lothian almost came a cropper at Alloa where they had to wait until the last end before scraping a 75-71 victory over the bottom club, while Blantyre impressed with a 96-66 away win over Prestwick.