The clubhouse was rocking at Cockenzie & Port Seton Bowling Club late last Friday night with celebratory anthem ‘we are the champions’ getting big licks from the jubilant choristers hailing the Division 1 title capture of the East Coast Carpets sponsored East Lothian Leagues for the first time since 2012.
The final outcome of the 2017 campaign had gone right down to the wire with the record former five in a row champions going into match 18 trailing leaders Haddington by 1 point. Cockenzie & Port Seton made the short trip along to Castlepark knowing they probably needed a maximum points win to have any chance of the title and they duly delivered with wins on the rinks skipped by Derek Oliver, Steven Morgan and Scott Kennedy ensuring they got the result they wanted. That left Haddington a lot to do away at Dunbar but last season’s champions did come tantalisingly close to achieving a positive outcome but were denied living the dream of an 8-0 result by a superb final bowl jack trail from Dunbar skip James Shields to stop the Haddington rink skipped by Joe Mower registering victory.
“When the news filtered through that our close rivals had only managed to win their game, 6-2, there was a tumultuous roar and a range of new celebration dance moves broke out to herald us being crowned kings of ELBA again”, said club president Steven Morgan.
Meanwhile in the battle to beat the drop there was a downcast feeling in the Aberlady clubhouse as they made a quick return to Division 2 despite ending their up and down campaign with a 5-3 win at home against Tranent. For the second successive year West Barns produced last game heroics and their 8-0 win at East Linton was good enough for them to remain in the top division. EL-Coop finished their campaign with a 6-2 away win at already relegated Gifford. Its congratulations to Haddington A after they captured the Division 2 title honours with a 6-2 home win over Athelstaneford and joining them in Division 1 will be Elphinstone. At the other end Tranent A and Castlepark A were sentenced to life in Division 3. Longniddry won the title honours in Division 3 and following them into Division 2 next season will be Macmerry. Finally, in Division 4 it was another close call and it was Aberlady A who emerged champions with Haddington B grabbing the other promotion place.
East Lothian 2016 champions Tranent are in 2017 Inter-County Top 5 Singles quarter-final action tonight (Thursday) when they tackle Midlothian champions Pathhead at home. The talented mob of John McCrorie, Adam Martin, Kevin Cunningham, Matt Osborne and Kevin Jones are the players given the responsibility of trying to book a place in the semi-final.
Cockenzie & Port Seton ace Derek Oliver enjoyed a fine run in last weekend’s Bowls Scotland Super Series Gents Singles grand finals at Ayr Northfield, producing several fine performances to reach the semi-final. Unfortunately, the second seeds fine form deserted him in his last four clash with Mark Thompson and he lost 21-11. Meanwhile Oliver and Gifford world stage star Alex Marshall travel to Dublin this weekend as the Bowls Scotland High Performance Squad take on Ireland in a two day test series event.
The champagne corks were popping at Polson Park last Saturday evening after Tranent captured the ELBA Brown Trophy with the host club putting up a strong display to beat Cockenzie & Port Seton in the final. There were also scenes of jubilation at Elphinstone Bowling Club after they captured the ELBA East Lothian News Trophy following victory over EL-Coop in the final played at Aberlady BC.
The ELBA County Championships are now up and running with the semi-finals due to be played on Wednesday evening at Castlepark, Prestongrange and Cockenzie & Port Seton bowling green’s respectively while the finals day will be staged at Aberlady Bowling Club on Saturday. The finals of the gent’s singles, pairs, triples and fours will all be down for decision at 2.30pm and a day of anticipated action-packed drama gets underway at 12.30pm with the finals of youth singles and fours along with the gent’s junior singles and senior fours. Meanwhile ELBA Match Secretary Keith Fender is calling on all 2016 winners to hand back their respective trophies to him or hand them into Aberlady BC before Saturday.
The East Lothian Under 25 side return to competitive action on Sunday when they head to Sighthill BC in Edinburgh to compete for the prestigious Calder Cup and will hope to go one better this year after finishing runners-up last season. This year the garden county have been drawn in another tough looking qualifying section that includes Midlothian, West Fife and Dumbartonshire. Team manager Michael Greenan has announced the following team:- Pairs: C.Darling & J.Mower skip Triples: C.Brock, R.Thomson, S.Gray skip Fours: C.Innes, D.French, R.Cochrane, G.Blair skip/capt Minibus pick-up times:- Haddington Corn Exchange 9.45am Tranent Police Station 9.55am Any player selected who is unable to play is requested to contact team convenor Stevie Greenan immediately on 07712 277681.
After a few near misses, Jamie Frame finally got his hands on the championship singles trophy at Castlepark after producing a fine display to beat defending champion Stevie Thomson, 21-6, in the final. In the ladies final Mags Thomson beat Karen Davidson, 21-11 while George Thomson lifted the senior singles crown. Its congratulations to Sam Newlands after he became champion of Athelstaneford for a first time while Kim Hoggan won the ladies crown. Kevin Cunningham has made his mark at Tranent by winning the championship singles for a first time having served up a strong performance to beat John Robertson, 21-5, in the final.
Derek Oliver is champion again at his beloved Cockenzie & Port Seton and is celebrating a record extending ninth title success following a hard fought 21-18 win over club new boy Jamie Higgins in a high-quality final.
George (Jock) Cymber is the new champion at Prestongrange after he held most of the aces in a 21-14 triumph over Ronnie Gunn in the final. Kenny Donaldson was crowned king of Macmerry for the second time in three years after a nail biting 21-19 win over Graeme Hogg in the final.
Steven Mackie is celebrating a second championship title success at EL-Coop after beating talented youngster Cameron Shaw, 21-13, in the final. Megan Kivlin was crowned queen of her club for a third consecutive year following an epic 21-19 win over Emma Logan while Ian ‘Ginge’ James triumphed in the gent’s senior singles.
Cockenzie & Port Seton Bowling Club is staging an Open Pairs tournament on Saturday September 9th with a high-class field expected to challenge for the lucrative £500.00 cash prize fund on offer in the Belhaven Brewery sponsored event. The tournament is a round robin event and entries are now being accepted and can be obtained by contacting club match secretary Darren Donnelly on 01875 810481.
With the indoor season fast approaching officials at East Lothian IBC request that anyone wishing to enter a new team in the leagues (evening, ladies, mixed or morning) should contact the Match Secretary as soon as possible via the club’s Facebook page. The same goes for anyone who did not submit entry forms at the end of last season; if you are unsure please contact Match Secretary Steven Clark as soon as possible.
Draw for Gifford Bowling & Sports Club Senior Open Triples, sponsored by Belhaven Brewery, Johnston Oils and Jock Brodie, on Wednesday August 30 is as follows:- 9.30am I.Blackadder, I.Gibson, S.Neish, A.Cross, D.Waugh, J.Stephen, J.Kerr, T.Taylor, P.Lorimer, M.Wood, W.Fotheringham, T.Kerr, A.Brown, E.Denholm, Dirleton 2, J.Forbes 10.30am Dirleton 1, Bellsburn 2, R.Skea, M.McLeod, Bellsburn 1, R.Allan, W.W.Wood MBE, G.McLeod, J.Stevenson, P.Fender, M.Grindlay, Bellsburn 3