Derek Oliver’s hopes of an extra morale boost ahead of his Gold Coast challenges at the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Australia was delivered in fine style as his East Lothian trio captured the Triples Crown for Scotland – in the finals of the British Isles Championships being played at Paisley IBC.Read More
Oliver and his high profile front-two of Mark Johnston and Willie Wood MBE lined up against Channel Islands in yesterday’s final and led 9-7 after 11 of the 18 ends played then raised the roof with counts of 6 and 3 to stand 11 shots up with five to play. The abrupt loss of 1, 1, 2, 3 to 18-14 brought the Scotland champions under last end pressure that they answered with a single to trigger the victory salute (19-14).
Paul Foster, 21-9, (Singles) – Jason Banks, 21-17, (Junior Singles) – Caroline Brown, 21-4, (L -Singles) reigned supreme in their respective finals however Emma McIntyre lost to Katherine Rednall of England, 21-14, in the Ladies Junior Singles,
Oliver skipped his front-two to a 16-12 win over Ireland in Tuesday’s prelim round having made significant impact with a purple patch spell of 4, 1, 3 that thrust them from 8-7 down to 15-8 up then it was game management tactics over the remaining five ends. A stamina challenging quick return to the finals arena pitched East Lothian’s national champions against England and an energy dip may have been read into a 4-0 deficit after two ends however Oliver and Co roared into action with a run of 3, 3, 2, 2 to lead 10-4. Coming under a touch of pressure at 12-10 the menace was answered by a strong finish o f2, 4, (1), 1, (1), 4 to win 23-12.
The EL Seniors Fours rink of Peter Fallen, David Pryde, Alan Morgan, and BJ Smith failed to capture the coveted British Isles Crown in the climax to the Championship play at Paisley yesterday – but the national champions did exceptionally well to bask in the limelight of reaching the final. BJ thrilled the Scottish support by skipping his front-three to an encouraging 27-16 semi final win over Channel Islands having boosted morale when carding a super six on end 13 to lead 21-11. If you accept that nerve and confidence plays a huge part when competing in a British Isles Final then a positive start is a great settler so it came as an immediate setback that after four ends EL were looking down the barrel of a 9-0 deficit.
The leaders were a Welsh rink that had come from 13-9 down to defeat Ireland, 21-19, in their semi final; and having rocked their Scotland rivals onto the back-foot they took stronger command of the final with a mighty count of 5 on end 10 to stand 17-4 up. BJ and Co managed to get that 5 back but not until the 19th end by which time it was much too late to influence a 28-14 defeat.
When the chips were down it was the mega stars of East Lothian that delivered a high calibre (gents) team performance to win their battle against fellow premier league giants West Lothian in the second round of The Scottish Cup. Wins delivered by Alex Marshall MBE and Billy Mellors, and a peel contributed by Scott Kennedy, combined to dwarf the narrow defeat suffered by Joe Mower. However the pathway towards a record extending 8th Cup celebration for EL is an immensely tough one as the quarterfinal opposition on Saturday March 24 at Headwell comes in the shape of the reigning holders, Falkirk.
East Lothian make one enforced change for this Sunday’s rearranged Playoff Final of the Premier League against Blantyre. (12noon).
Opportunity Knocks for stalwart campaigner Andrew Jeffrey who is drafted in to cover the absence of Stewart Thomson and the top quality performer lines up at second to Alex Marshall MBE. Blantyre has home environment advantage so the confirmed presence of “Tattie” comes as a massive boost to a team entering a Lions Den that has a long history of devouring oppositions – however if any team has the quality to turn the tables then it’s East Lothian. The draw for the final is Derek Oliver v Stewart Anderson; Billy Mellors v Jim McCann; Alex Marshall MBE v Brian Irvine; Scott Kennedy v Iain McLean.
Alex (Tattie) Marshall MBE reached the semi final stage of The International Open at Blackpool last week however the record six times world champion lost out to his fellow Scot, David Gourlay.Gourlay went though on a tiebreak then the celebrated Head Coach of Bowls Scotland captured the title in a thrilling tiebreak victory Greg Harlow (England) the current World No1.