Bowls: Bainfield win but Balbardie loss puts icing on their cake

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Bainfield were impressive on three of their four rinks to score a commanding 26-shot away victory (92-66) over bottom side Cumbernauld in Saturday’s Division 1B fixture of the national indoor bowls league.

Going by form, the Bainfield victory was expected, but an unexpected bonus came their way with the news that Balbardie had done them a favour by inflicting a surprise home defeat on joint-leader Tweedbank.

“My pre-match talk suggested that there was a banana skin out there somewhere so we had to be very much on our toes to make sure that we wouldn’t be the team to slip up,” said Bainfield boss John Bell.

Balbardie are known as a Jekyll and Hyde team, but the home form of Tweedbank is so strong that their 82-69 defeat is a shock of gigantic proportions.

“We are now two points clear so in the driving seat with three games to go, including home advantage against Stirling and Tweedbank, but we have to visit Balbardie in our final fixture, so the race to win promotion could go right to the wire”, added Bell.

Bell had to deal with the late call-off from Craig Paterson for the visit to Cumbernauld. Stalwart Brian Stoddart, however, was standing in the wings and made an ideal replacement at lead for James Hogg.

Hogg was hard-pushed to skip his rink to a single figure success, but Robert Marshall and Gavin Smith racked up much bigger wins in a match that brought Bainfield some disappointment when Paul O’Donnell suffered a late collapse when in a commanding position.

Bainfield made a spectacular start to the match to lead 18-3 after two ends, but relaxed far too quickly so only showed 32-26 ahead at the end of the first 7-end phase.

Bell was immediately concerned by the developing trend and demanding a sharper focus from his team they gave him a welcome 32-16 response on the second, then remained in their comfort zone with a 28-24 control of the third.

Marshall was the man of the match as he was in outstanding form with his delicate touch to skip Stephen Pringle, Graham Pringle and John Kidd to a 30-13 triumph.

Mention must also go to Hogg, who was 10-5 down after ten ends, but found a riposte to grind out an 18-15 win.