East Lothian gents face a massive challenge when play in the B Division of the indoor bowls Premier League resumes this weekend with the joint leaders making a visit to an Aberdeen team that is undefeated at home.
The last time East Lothian campaigned away from the comforts of their own Alex Marshall Arena was a visit to Ardrossan where the outcome was a hefty defeat of 29 shots that has endangered the prospects of them qualifying for the play-off final.
The current league table after six of the ten fixtures fulfilled reads as East Lothian on 8 points, Ardrossan 8, Aberdeen 6, Paisley 6, Lanarkshire 6 and Balbardie 2.
Ardrossan look good on paper to win at home to relegation zoned Balbardie while a home win for Lanarkshire over Paisley would move them up to a challenging position and there is similar incentive for Aberdeen to throw their hat into the ring.
Whilst star figure Alex Marshall continues to parade his skills for Scotland’s medal bid in the World Outdoor Championships being staged at Christchurch New Zealand there is compensating news that ace players Billy Mellors and Mark Johnston return to the EL line up. Ross Thomson is a recall while the players sidelined are Matt Osborne, Lessel Middler and budding teenage star Craig Mackintosh.
Rink 1: Andrew Jeffrey, Dean Riva, Dougie Berwick, Scott Kennedy.
Rink 2: Calum Darling, Lewis Betts, Glenn Blair, Billy Mellors.
Rink 3: Ross Thomson, Stevie Thomson, Jamie Higgins, Derek Oliver.
Rink 4: Mark Johnston, Willie Wood, Joe Mower, Graham Robertson.
Balbardie are now swimming against the tide in their bid to retain their hard won Premier League status with just one win out of six, however, that triumph was a convincing 22-shot affair at home to now joint leaders Ardrossan.
Whilst a morale boost on their return visit to Ayrshire is unlikely the Bathgate team is not short of skills or competitive spirit.
Rink 1: Duncan Smith, John Ellis, Mark Bonar, Sandy McDougall.
Rink 2: Tam Whitfield, Andy Forrest, Jim Speirs, Walter McDougall.
Rink 3: Graham Keery, Scott McMaster, Brian Craig, Gary Orr.
Rink 4: Calum Black, Lindsay Forrest, Davie Ross, Ewan Shearer.
Midlothian need a win to stay in touch with Division A (PL) leaders Blantyre and Falkirk so tomorrow’s visit of the latter to The Dalkeith Stadium becomes a must-win fixture for the home side.
Whilst there are enough big guns to shoot down the best of oppositions Ronnie Duncan remains in New Zealand and Andy Caldwell is unavailable with former captain Ian Forbes taking his place.
Rink 1: Scott Runciman, David Salkeld, John Stevenson, Billy Peacock.
Rink 2: Jamie Macnab, Craig Hodge, Scott Briggs, David Peacock.
Rink 3: Ian Forbes, Keith Stables, AJ Knight, Graeme Archer.
Rink 4: Jack Macnab, Ian Fleming, Lindsay Plenderleith, Colin Walker.