Midlothian bowlers have done themselves and the other East section campaigners in the Scottish Cities & Counties Championship a massive favour by inflicting a first defeat on West Lothian bringing the joint leaders back to within sight of the pack with an impressive 129-120 victory at Loanhead MW.
Wins on the rinks skipped by David Peacock, Colin Walker and Craig Hodge only gave Midlothian a 3-3 share across the green but their aggregate of 27 shots gave them nine more than the 18 achieved by Grant Logan, Neil Speirs and Steven Fleming for West Lothian.
“This is the first win of our campaign so it is a great relief to get off the mark but we deserved a break after two narrow away defeats and, of course, beating the section favourites is a welcome boost to our morale,” said Frank Gray for Midlothian.
Whilst Gray is over the moon at the end result he sets high standards for his team and, given the pressure he suffers on the banking, was unhappy that a peak lead of 26 shots was whittled down to single figures.
“We have a worrying tendency of taking our foot off the pedal and were in danger of tossing the match away until Davy (Peacock) carded a 5 at the 18th end and Colin (Walker) picked up a 6 at the 19th,” explained the team manager.
The phase scoring shows Midlothian rocking the visitors back-on-their-heels with a 50-27 domination of the first seven ends but having to battle to edge the second 37-35, then, despite the two big counts for Peacock and Walker, being outgunned 58-42 on the third.
Peacock was in inspirational form to lead 8-1 then later added 4, 3, 2, 1, 1, 2 to stand 21-8 up before skipping Tam Moffat Lindsay Plenderleith and Scott Briggs to a 29-17 win over Raymond Logan.
Walker led 8-1 and 17-9 before a purple patch of 2, 2, 6 helped him skip Jamie Mitchell, Stewart Clark and Ronnie Duncan to a 27-16 victory over John Aitken.
Hodge came under pressure at 15-14 from 14-6 but answered with a 2, 2, (3), 2 finish to skip Mark Yuill, Danny McDougall and Scott Reid to a 21-17 win over Thomas Mann.
Grant Logan helped unnerve the opposition with a run of 2, 1, 1, 2, 4, 1 to cross 21-12 en route to skipping Steven Forrest, Andy Dunnett and Mark Allison to a 24-16 win over Ramsay Blair.
Speirs added to the closing drama with a finishing run of 3, 2, 2, 2, 4 to beat Kevin McDougall 26-19, while Fleming benefited from a 4 at the second last to beat John Stevenson, 20-17.