Long gap could be bridged as Bainfield head for Methil

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Bainfield’s only title success in the men’s indoor bowls Scottish Fours Championship came back in 1989 but that long gap could be bridged by the strongly formed rink carrying the club banner in this weekend’s play-down action of the 2016 renewal.

The rink formation of Chris Downie, John McDermott, Colin Hutchison and Gavin Smith is rich in experience that includes international cap status for three of them while all four are star performers at Premier league level.

“You need the breaks and if we get them then we stand a chance of qualifying and of course our ambition is to go on and emulate the title triumph of Graeme Archer, Mel Muirhead, Frazer Muirhead and Alan Brown,” said Smith.

The Bainfield rink will play in the section hosted by East Fife IBC in Methil and that is former home territory for Smith so could prove an advantage going into their prelim round clash against Berwickshire.

The Berwickshire rink comprises Brian Paterson, Leslie Mitchell, Jamie Mitchell and Robert Paterson.

East Lothian have won this event on three occasions and almost made it four last season but beaten finalists Andy Jeffrey, Willie Wood, Scott Kennedy and Billy Mellors are back to try and go one better.

Mellors and Co benefit from a bye into the first round proper where they await the winner between Coatbridge and Allander skipped by Robert Murphy and Scott Livingston, respectively.

West Lothian was the club that beat EL in the 2015 final and their Champion rink in the shape of Bryan Cooper, James Speirs, Thomas Mann and Neil Speirs is back in action this weekend and their presence makes East Fife an exceptionally hot section.

Speirs and Co were also national champions in 2011 so are hunting a hat-trick, a campaign that starts against Andy McGeorge, Nigel Walker, Ali McIntyre and Andrew Kennedy of Abbeyview in the prelim round.

Midlothian also competes for the national crown with a star-studded rink in the shape of Ian Forbes, Ronnie Duncan, Billy Peacock and Colin Walker. Peacock was a member of the rink that brought the title back to Dalkeith in 2002.

Duncan has just returned from representing Scotland outdoors in the Hong Kong Classic so will be challenged by the chance of environment. Walker and Co open in the prelim round against Teviotdale.

Bathgate based Balbardie IBC have been drawn to compete in the section hosted by Glasgow IBC where their rink of Graham Turnbull, Ally Wilson, Andy Jenkins and Ewan Shearer open against an Inverclyde rink skipped by Sandy Wotherspoon in the prelim round.