West Lothian IBC enter the new year with a strong ambition and sharp focus on bringing the coveted Premier League title back to the Inveralmond Stadium for a sixth time.
However, they face a testing play-off final against Blantyre at Falkirk in February.
WL are the defending champions but have never ever won the PL title back-to-back so need to break that sequence against a team that beat them in last season’s final of the Scottish Cup.
The section campaigns have yet to be completed but WL are already out of reach before finishing with a home match against doomed Coatbridge on January 19.
Blantyre also have a foot-of-the-table climax away to Perth but already have the B section sewn up with a form line of 7 wins, 1 draw, and 1 defeat that compares to the WL statistic of 8 wins and 1 defeat.
WL have emerged top of the stronger of the two sections so will be favourites to make a successful defence of the title but Blantyre are tough nuts to crack.
The mood at Balbardie IBC is subdued, having once again managed to shoot themselves in the foot in their bid to reach Premier League status, and their final match of the Division 1D campaign is of no consequence.
The Scottish Cup campaign is the major club item on the New Year section of the 2012-13 season but the draw has been unkind to the local clubs, with West Lothian and Balbardie pitched against each other in the prelim round at Bainfield on February 2.
The recent announcement of the ladies’ international team brought festive season cheer for Balbardie star Lorraine Malloy, who will take her cap tally to the 21 mark when playing in the Home Championship Series at Stanley from March 8 to 10.
Malloy skips a rink that gives her a front three of Jane Brooksby (Falkirk), Ailsa Robertson (Dundee) and Celia Smith (East Fife).
The news was less cheerful though for West Lothian star Wendy Purdie, with the former national singles champion failing to add to her haul of 27 caps. After playing the last six series on the trot she is named only as a non-travelling reserve.
Lisa Barrett of West Lothian IBC is named in the ladies’ junior international team to play at Bromsgrove IBC on February 9-10 and in her seventh series will play skip to Carla Banks (Garioch), Natalie Kyle (Ardrossan) and Kim Hoggan (East Lothian). Barrett’s clubmate Jennifer Richardson is in the squad for the third series in a row as a travelling reserve.