Bowls: Portobello blow play-off bid with home loss to Fifers

Portobello blew their chance of making the promotion play-offs to the indoor bowls Premier League by losing their final match at home to chief 
rivals Abbeyview in Division 1C.

Porty went into the match as table toppers holding a lead of one point over Abbeyview who they had already beaten in Dunfermline. They were also defending an unbeaten home record but crashed to a 81-59 defeat.

“It is a crushing disappointment,” said team organiser Robert Wood, who is set to stand down after five years at the helm. “However, we did lose to the better team. The Abbeyview team is populated by many experienced players that are household names in Fife and they were never going to be any pushover. One guy that did our cause a lot of damage was a Capital migrant in the shape of former Bainfield star Allan Ramsay.”

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A productive victory for the rink skipped by Chris Steven was the only positive for Portobello with the other rinks skipped by Andrew Caldwell, George Johnston and team captain Stuart Betts all losing.

Portobello just did enough to edge the first seven-end phase, 25-22, but a severe 12-2 negative over ends 12 and 13 led to the 30-17 loss of the second then a poor response saw the home team outgunned 29-17 on the third.

Steven did his bit to enthuse the home support when kicking on from 10-9 up in spectacular style to outscore the opposition 14-0 and skip Jamie Reid, Dean Mackintosh and Gordon Bold to a 24-9 win over Stuart Pagan, but it was a devastating blow to the Portobello morale as their star rink of Ross Thomson, Billy Dunleavey, Ian Fleming and Andrew Caldwell conceded six at the ninth end to be crossed 13-9 by Paul Brown.

An immediate form swing saw Brown add 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2 to stretch into a 21-9 lead then cash in on his dramatic change of fortune to demolish Caldwell and Co, 30-13.

Johnston made an encouraging start to skip Craig McCall, Barry Smythe and Kevin Hunter into a 10-6 lead after 11 ends but they then collapsed, losing 22-12 to Kenny Bald.

Betts and his rink of David McLeod, Scott Rogers and David Brown never had lady luck on their side and the lack of good breaks combined with strong opposition play from Ramsay at third saw them suffer a 20-10 defeat from Jim McGuire.

Abbeyview now face Ardrossan in the play-off.