After a relatively disappointing Scottish Premier League campaign the men’s side from East Lothian IBC have serious designs on trying to win the Scottish Cup and the record six times champions opened this year’s campaign in fine style as they coasted into the first round proper with a commanding 116-55 victory over Division 2 struggler’s Cowal at Lanarkshire IBC last Saturday.
The garden county dominated on three of the four rinks with super double-digit wins for the rinks skipped by Scott Kennedy, Billy Mellors and Alex Marshall MBE. Derek Oliver shaped up well in the early stages of his game but a significant stumble on the run in cost him a narrow defeat. “There is always a potential banana skin situation when you play lower league sides but we showed a great attitude and determination from start to finish which was really pleasing”, reflected team captain Scott Kennedy.
Kennedy personal contribution was immense as he skipped Andrew Jeffrey, Glenn Blair and Graham Robertson to sweepstake winning 34 shot triumph over George Galloway. Mellors flew out the traps and assembled a 14-1 lead after five ends before going onto to skip Lessel Middler, Dougie Berwick and Joe Mower to a 34-15 victory over Alan Scott. Marshall and his front three of Jamie Higgins, Andy Burt and Willie Wood MBE kicked on from 11-10 after 10 ends to beat George Annan, 26-14. Malcolm Higgenbotham, Jamie Gordon, Stuart Thomson and Oliver endured a very frustrating day at the office and succumbed to a 21-17 defeat at the hands of Billy Kelly. Tougher time are expected tomorrow (Saturday) as East Lothian face national league play-off finalists Falkirk in the first round proper action at Balbardie IBC in Bathgate. The clash is without doubt the tie of the round and the garden county will be hoping to make it third time lucky, as their opponents have already inflicted defeat on them twice this season. Stalwart figures Mark Johnston and Ewan Fallen make welcome returns but the mood is dampened slightly by the enforced absence of legend figure Willie Wood MBE while Malcolm Higgenbotham is also a non-starter. The team reads:- M.Johnston, A.Burt, J.Higgins, A.Marshall MBE skip A.Jeffrey, G.Blair, G.Robertson, S.Kennedy skip/capt E.Fallen, J.Gordon, S.W.Thomson, D.Oliver skip L.Middler, D.Berwick, J.Mower, B.Mellors skip
The ladies side were also in Scottish Cup action last Saturday and turned in a strong performance to score a hard-fought five shot victory over fellow Division 1 side Abbeyview in the preliminary round action at Balbardie IBC in Bathgate. The result was a close call as East Lothian shared a 2-2 outcome on the four rinks but the wins delivered by garden county skips Emma Logan and Irene Gray tipped the scales in a 74-69 triumph and a first round proper clash with East Fife at Headwell IBC in Dunfermline on Saturday week (February 20) now awaits. “The climax to the match was heart in mouth stuff so we were delighted to get the over the line and we now look forward to testing ourselves against Premier League opposition in the next round”, commented team manager Sheena Currie. Scotland cap Logan was the leading light as she skipped Margaret Murray, Muriel Hamilton and Alicia Irvine to a 22-14 triumph while the ever-reliable stand-in skip Gray was hard pressed by very competitive opposition but had their measure to skip Diane Rowan, Pauline Turner and Nancy McNeil to a 21-15 win. Janet Fairnie was outgunned in a 19-14 defeat while Lauren Baillie went down 21-17.
Emma Logan is on international duty this weekend when she is part of a Scotland Ladies Under 25 side hoping to end England’s dominance and regain back the British Isles Home International Under 25 series at Paisley IBC. Logan has an all-important skipping role and will win her 20th cap when she lines up against Wales in tomorrow (Saturday) mornings opening game. She has also received the massive honour of being appointed team captain for the host nation.
The senior side return to competitive national action this coming Wednesday (February 17) when they enter the Scottish Senior Cup fray with a first round clash against West Lothian at Bainfield IBC in Edinburgh. After suffering a shock quarter-final exit in the national league play-off’s the garden county ‘auld yins’ are up for the cup and have real ambitions to win it for a fourth time.
Meanwhile, the qualifying action in the Jock Brodie Senior Challenge Cup, sponsored by Norman T Craig and Co-operative Funeralcare, continued at the Alex Marshall Arena last Wednesday and there was 6-2 points wins for both East Lothian and Perth against Tweedbank and Berwickshire respectively. The action continued on Wednesday when East Lothian was back in action against Headwell while the other clash featured Teviotdale against West Lothian. There is no action at the Alex Marshall Arena this coming Wednesday due to the Scottish Senior Cup action being staged around the country.
There were further title celebrations last Saturday evening for the youth section at ELIBC when David Young, Craig Mackintosh and Dean Riva captured the triples title at the Abbeyview Youth Tournament. The talented trio breezed through the group play before seeing off the challenge of a host club triple in the semi-final. In the final against East Fife, they totally dominated proceedings from start to finish and ran out convincing 11-0 winners. It is back to East of Scotland Junior League action for the youth side tomorrow (Saturday) morning when they welcome local rivals Bainfield to the Alex Marshall Arena.