Porty pumped up by return of talented Chris Steven

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Portobello welcome back a major talent in the shape of 26-year-old Chris Steven, who breaks a self-imposed exile to help his indoor bowls club in their campaign to win promotion from the lower echelons of the national league system.

Steven first came to prominence when making his junior cap debut for Scotland under the now sadly defunct Edinburgh IBC banner in 2004, then went on to play four more Under-25 international series with the Bainfield club.

His later move to Portobello coincided with a loss of appetite for the sport, but he has been enticed back into the limelight by team selector Robert Wood who hands him his campaign debut at third to skip Andrew Caldwell.

“Chris is prepared to commit himself to most of our Division 2B programme of matches and his wealth of experience and high level of talent compensates us for the recent loss of John McDermott to Bainfield,” said Wood.

Portobello are at home to Fintry tomorrow and Steven is brought in to replace the unavailable George Johnstone, while one other change from the team that won so well away to Allander, is Scott Rogers, for the also unavailable Euan Murray.

Bainfield also hit the ground running in their quest to reclaim Premier League status by winning promotion from Division 1B, but entertain Cumbernauld at the Hutchison Crossway stadium tomorrow without Jamie Aitken and leading player Robert Marshall. The recent arrival via East Lothian of the excitingly talented James Hogg, makes him the ideal choice to step up and into the shoes of Marshall, while team manager John Bell hands Paul Millar a recall and season debut.

“We will be marked down as a home banker and understandably so but I will be warning our lads against complacency and asking them to show the killer instinct it takes to win promotion,” said Bell.

West Lothian visit Prestwick in the A section of the Premier League and it will be a major test for them that will be helped by the seasonal debut of international star Neil Speirs.

It is an interesting move though that Speirs doesn’t go straight in at skip but instead will play third to 21-year-old junior cap Calum Logan. Jamie Gracie meanwhile, the recent new recruit from Bainfield, isn’t available for a return to his native Ayrshire.

The East Lothian selectors welcome back team stalwarts Mark Johnston and Jamie Higgins for their visit to newly promoted Alloa in the Premier League but continue to operate without their star man Alex Marshall.

Full cap Billy Mellors doesn’t make many of these fixtures but in a welcome boost he is expected to turn out tomorrow and his named at second in the rink skipped by Scott Kennedy.

Midlothian have David Peacock and David Salkeld as absentees against Auchinleck at Dalkeith in the B section but experienced stars Willie Rankin and Lindsay Plenderleith return to action.