End-of-year report: East Lothian top of class

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THE end-of-year report card shows East Lothian IBC men going great guns in their bid to retain their indoor bowls Premier League title having won five out of six to sit two points clear of West Lothian in Section B.

Tough tests do lie ahead though, with visits to last season’s Scottish Cup winners Falkirk, and WL to come as well as home ties against Paisley and Elgin. Both Falkirk, and WL, are unbeaten at home.

West Lothian have made a strong return to the top flight with four wins out of six. Lowly Elgin are also due to visit Livingston in the new year while away wins at Ardrossan and Paisley would be hard-earned but possible to achieve.

Bainfield’s three wins out of six see them end the year sitting mid-table in Section A.

Keeping clear water between them and bottom two clubs Coatbridge and winless Cumbernauld is the New Year resolution at the Hutchison Crossway Stadium.

Tough assignments await in the shape of home games against the current top two, Blantyre and Midlothian, while visits will be made to Lanarkshire and Cumbernauld.

Midlothian are top with five wins out of six alongside a Blantyre team they have yet to visit. Midlothian’s four-match run-in also includes home games at Dalkeith against Coatbridge and Lanarkshire.

Balbardie’s dismal record of six defeats leaves the Bathgate club anchored at the foot of the Division 1 South table.

Having just dropped from the Premier League, the challenge facing Balbardie is to avoid making another plunge into Division 2.

Inverclyde are just two points better off with four games to play, so leapfrogging them isn’t a forlorn hope with Abbeyview, Ayr, and Inverclyde all due to visit while an away fixture takes Balbardie to East Kilbride.

n East Lothian Ladies have taken the East Premier Division by storm, winning six out of six yet they haven’t quite shaken off their rivals Midlothian, who are just two points off the pace.

East Lothian enter the final straight with a home challenge against Bainfield and a juicy away trip to chief rivals Midlothian.

Meanwhile, the scenario in Division 1 East is a neck-and-neck race to the line featuring joint-leaders Balbardie and West Lothian.