Bowls: East Lothian to meet West Lothian

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The major confrontation in tomorrow’s quarter-finals action of the indoor bowls Scottish Cup features dual five-times champions East Lothian and West Lothian going head to head at Falkirk.

East Lothian are boosted by the return to action of Alex Marshall MBE and doubly so with former national singles champion Mark Johnston also back in a line-up that excludes Kieran Simmants and Stevie Thomson. West Lothian field the same team that dealt defending champions Blantyre an exit last weekend as they bid to keep alive their hopes of adding the Cup to their recent Premier League title.

Midlothian face a tricky encounter against Lanarkshire at Coatbridge and team manager Frank Gray goes with the side that ensured Premier League survival by defeating Garioch.

Meanwhile, the domestic scene at Midlothian IBC saw the semi-finals of the Gents championship played this week and the resulting success of international colleagues Colin Walker and Ronnie Duncan gives promise of a cracking battle for the title. Both players were in top form on Wednesday night, with Walker crushing Sandy (AJ) Knight 21-5, and Duncan demolishing Scott Matthews 21-8. Hopes that Portobello Ladies would make further progress into the quarter-finals of the Scottish Cup were dashed by an 85-74 defeat from East Fife at East Lothian’s Meadowmill stadium. Ends 15, 16, and 17 proved to be significant in the downfall of Portobello with East Fife carding, 4-3, 8-2, and 5-1 to hit the front at 74-65.

Nicola Barclay produced a good win for Portobello that was supported by a peel for Rita Reid but a narrow margin defeat for Barbara Kay and a crushing one for May Brownlee put paid to the Edinburgh club’s chances. Brownlee and her rink of Zandra Kinnear Helen Melville and Margaret Murray trailed 16-6 after nine ends then suffered even harder times in a 30-11 defeat from internationalist Lynn Stein.

Kay and her front three of Jackie McFarlane, Isabel Anderson and Cathy Ward faced a 13-5 deficit after 10 ends but fought back to 14-14 before being edged out 17-16 by Karen McAndrew. Barclay skipped Catherine McLeod, Rosemary Mackintosh and Irene Gray into a 26-12 lead before beating Celia Smith, 28-19. Reid skipped Alison McDougall, Liz Parfinowski and Margaret Keenan into a lead of 19-14 before being pegged back to a 19-19 peel by Julie Sword.