East Lothian IBC men’s side were forced onto the back foot in the early stages of their away match against Elgin last Saturday in the B section of the Scottish Premier League and were always struggling against the collar in an 18 shot defeat (89-71).Read More
It was mostly pain without any gain for the visitors from the garden county with Elgin inflicting defeats on the rinks skipped by Billy Mellors, Derek Oliver and Graham Robertson although two of the three were hard fought battles. The only positive outcome for East Lothian was a five-shot victory posted by the rink skipped by Alex Marshall MBE. “It is obviously no disgrace to lose at a tough venue and we did compete very well on two of the four phases, so the setback hasn’t knocked our positive outlook or our team spirit which remains strong”, said an EL spokesperson.
Marshall fought hard to lead 9-8 after 10 ends then put in a strong finish to skip Mark Yuill, Stewart Thomson and Jamie Higgins to a 19-14 win over Graeme Donaldson. Mellors and his rink of Andrew Jeffrey, David Sked and Dean Riva trailed 15-8 after ten ends and slumped to a 32-15 defeat from Mike Stepney. Oliver and his front three of Ewan Fallen, Lewis Betts and Scott Kennedy stood 16-14 down after 15 ends and lost 22-18 to Norman Barker. Robertson skipped Calum Darling, Willie Wood MBE and Joe Mower into a 16-14 lead after 15 ends but suffered a few blips in the remaining ends and slipped to a 21-19 defeat from Andrew Barker.
Opportunity knocks for the side to bounce back to winning ways on Saturday when they have home carpet advantage against foot of the table Paisley. The garden county selectors have faced a massive selection headache ahead of the fixture with the news that the international trio of Scott Kennedy, Derek Oliver and Jamie Higgins are unavailable. Better news is the welcome return of former national singles champion Mark Johnston while seasonal campaigner Glen Blair also returns to the fold. Teenager Craig Mackintosh will make his seasonal debut is a heavily tweaked line-up that reads:- M.Johnston, D.Sked, D.Riva, B.Mellors skip C.Darling, W.W.Wood MBE, E.Fallen, G.Robertson skip M.Yuill, C.Mackintosh, S.W.Thomson, A.Marshall MBE skip A.Jeffrey, L.Betts, G.Blair, J.Mower skip
The ladies side continue to soar upwards and onwards in their campaign to capture the playoff honours in the East Premier Division of the Scottish Ladies League with their latest success 28 shot home win over Abbeyview making it five wins out of five.
The continuation of their undefeated run is rewarded by a two-point lead over chief rivals Midlothian that is supported by a massive 106 shot margin plus. Wins for the rinks skipped by Yvonne Veitch, Emma Logan and captain Lauren Baillie kept the faithful home support at the Alex Marshall Arena in a good frame of mind however; there was some slight concern that Janet Fairnie suffered a narrow defeat.
Team manager Gordon Pryde knows that it is still relatively early days with four highly competitive fixtures still to fulfil but he reckons the signs are strongly positive with excellent camaraderie driving inspirational levels of team spirit and high-energy performances. “We are seeing games out far better than in previous years and not folding or wobbling in the later stages of four hour games that can be energy sapping when put under pressure”, said Pryde.
The phase scoring paint a picture of East Lothian making a sluggish start to edge the first five ends, 18-12, and by 15 ends the overall scoreboard read 58-45 in favour of the home side. However, EL finished the game like an express train and powered to a 30-13 capture of the final phase to win 86-58 on overall shots. Rink scores – Yvonne Veitch 26 F Malcolm 11; Emma Logan 24 A.Bernard 12; Lauren Baillie 19 A.Hutchison 13; Janet Fairnie 17 V.McGregor 22. The side is on the road on Saturday when they head over the Forth to tackle East Fife and team manager Gordon Pryde has announced the following side:- M.Devine, N.McNeil, D.Hoggan, Y.Veitch skip M.Murray, C.Ward, M.Kivlin, E.Logan skip J.McFarlane, A.Berwick, G.Mackintosh, L.Baillie skip/capt B.Riva, M.Penman, M.Thomson, J.Fairnie skip
The senior side travelled to Hawick last Wednesday to tackle Teviotdale and recorded an emphatic win by 82-43. This result took the garden county ‘auld yins’ to the top of the East B section – equal on points with Bainfield who lost narrowly to West Lothian. Dougie Berwick and his front three of Lessel Middler, Brian Bisset and Jimmy Neilson were in devastating form winning 30-4. All other rinks recorded wins Tommy Young (+7) Willie Wood MBE (+4) and Alastair Russell (+2). The side was back in action on Wednesday when they hosted West Lothian at the Alex Marshall Arena. Meanwhile the national senior fours playdown action was staged last Sunday and the East Lothian IBC rink of Tommy Moffat, Billy Higgins, Alastair Russell and Willie Wood MBE progressed through to the second round following an emphatic 28-2 win over West Lothian in the first-round proper action staged at the Alex Marshall Arena. They now play Midlothian on Sunday January 14 and will again have home carpet advantage.
On the international stage, its congratulations to the East Lothian IBC talented trio of Yvonne Veitch, Dee Hoggan and Emma Logan after being named in the Scotland senior ladies team that will participate at the 2018 BIWIBC Home International series at Paisley IBC from Friday 9 to Sunday 11 March. Meanwhile Welshman Joe Mower will wear the blue of Scotland for a second successive year after being included in the Gents Under 25 team that will represent Scotland at the 2018 British Isles Under 25 series in County Antrim on weekend of February 17/18. Fellow garden county teammates Calum Darling, Lewis Betts and Dean Riva were also involved in last Sunday’s trial match at Bainfield IBC but failed to make the final line-up. On Sunday, the gent’s senior international trial match takes centre stage at Paisley IBC and the East Lothian duo of Mark Johnston and Billy Mellors will be involved in proceedings. Garden county teammates Derek Oliver, Scott Kennedy and Jamie Higgins are unable to attend the trial but will still be considered for final selection while icon figure Alex Marshall MBE has already been pre-selected. In addition, on Sunday the Scottish ladies Under 25 trial match takes place at East Fife IBC and East Lothian has a double representation in the shape of Megan Kivlin and Beth Riva.