Marshall brothers back in national league action

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The high-profile Marshall brothers return to national league bowls action tomorrow with Robert back from the US to play for Bainfield in Division 1B and Alex returning from Cyprus to line up for East Lothian in the Premier League.

Bainfield visit Stirling and team manager John Bell is optimistic that his 16-strong line-up can complete a hat-trick of opening wins.

“Jamie Aitken is also back for us and will play third to Colin Hutchison while Robert fills the shoes of Paul O’Donnell, who couldn’t resist the chance of visiting Cyprus to cheer on his sister Mandy in the Atlantic Rim Championships,” he said.

Balbardie also operate in Division 1B. The Bathgate-based club have made a faltering start and face a tough visit to Methil with East Fife just down from the Premier League.

Sandy McDougall is an absentee and the four skips are Ewan Shearer, Jim Speirs, Walter McDougall and Andy Forrest. Alistair Wilson comes off the reserve bench to play lead to McDougall while former star Peter Lynch continues at third in the rink skipped by Speirs.

East Lothian have Alex Marshall in their line-up for the first time this season and also give a return to Alan Young while David Oliver and Neil Pringle miss the visit to Blantyre.

Blantyre are exceptionally difficult to beat at home but East Lothian have experienced skips Willie Wood MBE, Graham Robertson, Derek Oliver, and Marshall to direct operations.West Lothian share top spot with EL in the A section of the Premier League and they bid to make it three wins in a row away to Paisley but tackle the fixture without George Sneddon, Des Hagart and Paul Lynas.

Opportunity therefore knocks for their replacements in the shape of David Wilson, Richard Mark and Blair Mackie.

Neil Speirs is switched from third to fill Sneddon’s shoes at skip and has Wilson as his back end partner while Stewart McMaster and James Greenock form the front end.

Stuart Johnston is stepped up from second to third for Calum Logan with Mark and Mackie at the front while the rinks skipped by Thomas Mann and Mark Allison remain unchanged.

It may be viewed as a surprise that former Junior Scotland cap Jamie Gracie, a recent import from Bainfield, is sentenced to a place on the reserve bench where Ewan Wilson joins him.

Last season’s champions, Lanarkshire, and runners up, Midlothian, clash in the B section of the PL and surprisingly both are seeking their first win of the campaign.

Midlothian travel without stars David Peacock, Graeme Archer, Steven Currie and Andrew Kelly. Willie Rankin, Billy Peacock, AJ Knight and Colin Walker are the skips.

Portobello entertain Whiteinch in a top-of-the-table clash in Division 2B but have Chris Steven, Andrew Davie and Scott Rogers missing. Their replacements are George Johnstone, Jamie Reid and Euan Murray.