Back-to-back victories by Midlothian – the latest being a battling 80-71 win over Blantyre at Dalkeith – have boosted hopes that a flirtation with the relegation zone in the A section of the indoor bowls Premier League can be avoided.
The alarm bells were ringing after opening defeats at the hands of West Lothian and Bainfield but an unexpected away win over Aberdeen – albeit by a single shot – fired up the spirit and confidence within the Midlothian camp.
Colin Walker was an absentee against Blantyre with the high-profile Scotland Cap preparing for the Scottish International Open event at Perth, but team manger Frank Gray was happy to welcome back lead figure David Peacock.
Blantyre – runners-up last season – came into the match buoyed up by revenge win over defending champions West Lothian and they represented a serious challenge to a home team yet to prove invincible at Dalkeith.
However, Midlothian produced a strong team performance with wins on the rinks skipped by David Peacock, Ronnie Duncan and Billy Peacock.
The match was fought out on a tightrope from start to finish, however, with Midlothian always holding the lead from the second end to the 21st, but never finding themselves operating in a comfort zone.
“I liked the fact that we coped with constant pressure from a good opposition and the dour battling qualities that was the hallmark of our win at Aberdeen were again present,” said Gray.
Midlothian registered an 8-0 score on the second end and a 7-0 on the fourth to lead 19-10 and, after seven ends played, they were 31-20 in front. They then edged the second phase 29-26, but their match lead of 14 shots cushioned them against the 25-20 loss of the third as Blantyre showed menace right to the end.
David Peacock wasn’t getting things all his own way against Jim Meikle, but a super count of 6 on the 11th end put him in front 18-7 and inspired him to skip Jamie Aitken, Ian Fleming (ex Portobello) and Craig Hodge to a battling 23-16 victory.
Duncan made an encouraging 3, 4 start to lead Harry Meikle, 7-0, but was under pressure at 15-15 before conjuring up a magic 2, 2, 1, 1 finish to skip Martin Wyllie, Drew Pearson, and Danny McDougall to a 21-15 win.
Billy Peacock was headed in the wrong direction at 12-7 down after 11 ends but a whirlwind run of 2, 4, 2, 1, 1 turned the tide as he skipped Robert Campbell, Lindsay Plenderleith and Kevin McDougall to a 22-19 win over Scott Bishop.
Sandy (AJ) Knight and his front-three of Ian Forbes, Andy Caldwell (ex Portobello), and David Munro, slipped from 9-9 to a 21-14 defeat against Brian Irvine.