Midlothian made it five wins from five in the tough East section of The Hamilton Trophy, with their hard-fought 135-117 victory over Borders at Melrose clinching a place in the knockout stage.
The table-toppers are the only undefeated team across the four sections and are out of the sight entering this weekend’s final fixture against East Lothian at Rosslyn.
The Midlothian camp cheered wins on the rinks skipped by Colin Bonner, Colin Walker and David Peacock against Borders and their combined plus of 27 shots was enough to cover the trio of narrow losses sustained by Danny McDougall, Scott Briggs and Graham Archer. Bonner raced into a 22-1 lead but then suffered the loss of a full house count of eight before skipping Jack Macnab, AJ Knight and Stuart Roseburgh to a 29-17 win over S Richardson.
Walker included two mighty counts of 5 in his 25-15 win over Stuart Bebbington while Peacock led 13-2 before delivering a 19-14 win over Stuart White. McDougall lost 24-22 to Graeme Forsyth, Briggs 26-24 to Ian Crawford and Archer, 21-16 to Ross Nichol.
East Lothian suffered a shock 110-96 loss at home to a previously winless Fife County at Prestongrange, a defeat that makes the reigning champions underdogs to West Lothian in the race to capture the second qualifying place. West Lothian’s 142-95 annihilation of Stirling County East at Whitburn gives them a significant shot margin plus of 53 over East Lothian.
WL could find life difficult at Parkside this weekend against an improving Edinburgh & Leith but it would take a huge victory – and an EL defeat – for E&L to steal second place.
Standings: Midlothian 12 points +127; West Lothian 8 +108; East Lothian 8 +55; Edinburgh & Leith 6 +6.
West Lothian v Stirling County East: Neil Speirs 36, Stuart Williamson 7; Grant Logan 24, K Stoddart 15; Andy Dunnett 26, C Ross 19; Thomas Mann 23, S Thomson 17; Ray Logan 21, S Hogg 23; Steven Fleming 12, M McCalley 14.
East Lothian v Fife County: Billy Mellors 23, D Comrie 17; John McCrorie 20, R Page 10; Glenn Blair 12, S Bone 20; Steven Morgan 12, D Creevy 17; Brian Young 15, B Doig 19; Mal Higgenbotham 13, A Pearson 27.