East Lothian’s 20 shot home victory (128-108) over Fife County at West Barns BC last Saturday was hard earned in challenging weather conditions and the hosts were relieved to celebrate making it four wins out of five in the highly competitive East section of the Scottish Counties Championship.
It’s a result that keeps East Lothian joint top of the table with Edinburgh & Leith on the 8 point mark but they are 60 shots adrift of their ‘townie’ rivals with two rounds of fixtures to play. Wins on the rinks skipped by Billy Mellors, Ian Bell, Scott Kennedy and John McCrorie, and single figure setbacks for Derek Oliver and Craig Valentine represented another strong team performance from the garden county. “The conditions made the outcome a bit of a lottery but in these circumstances it was vital for us register a win that keeps us in a tremendous position in the section going into the last couple of games”, said team manager Ian Bell. Mellors and his rink of Ross Thomson, Jamie Gordon and Stephen Cochrane adjusted very well to the windy conditions and only conceded on six of the 21 regulation ends played to register a whopping 32-9 win over James Forbes. Bell benefited greatly from a tremendous start to lead 9-1 after 6 ends played then skipped John Gearty, Brian Young and Craig McLeod to a 23-12 triumph over Alan Pearson. Kennedy skipped Mark McCormack, Matt Osborne and Tom Young to a battling 18-16 win over Gary Mackie while McCrorie closed to 13-17 with a four at end 16 then skipped Gordon White, Billy Dunleavey and Stevie Greenan to a 22-21 victory against Calum Young. Oliver suffered a 26-15 defeat from Davie Comrie while team captain Valentine lost 24-18 to Chris Stein.
East Lothian face arch rivals Midlothian away at Gorebridge BC tomorrow (Saturday) in the penultimate week of the qualifying action and the East section co-leaders know they face a very tough assignment against a talented side who for one reason or another have failed to spark to life in this particular campaign. Team manager Ian Bell is well aware of the threat Midlothian will possess and has to cope with four enforced changes for various reasons. Alister ‘Bongo’ Kennedy (West Barns) and John White (Gifford) make seasonal debuts while Stuart Johnston (Ormiston) and Billy Cormack (West Barns) are recalls. The enforced call-offs are Derek Oliver, captain Craig Valentine, Craig Bell and Adam Martin. Both sides have agreed to start the game at the earlier time of 1pm so that both sets of players are off the green in time to watch the European Qualifying match between Scotland and Republic of Ireland that kicks-off at 5pm. The full team reads:- S.White (ELCO), D.Whitson (Tra), S.Johnston (Orm), S.Cochrane (ELCO) skip R.Thomson (ELCO), J.Gordon (C&PS), J.White (Giff), B.Mellors (W/B) skip B.Cormack (W/B), G.Baillie (C&PS), R.Marwick (P/G), A.Kennedy (W/B) skip M.McCormack (Win), M.Osborne (Tra), T.Young (Dun), S.Kennedy (W/B) skip G.White (Abe), B.Dunleavey (Abe), S.Greenan (P/G), J.McCrorie (Tra) skip J.Gearty (C&PS), B.Young (Tra), C.McLeod (Giff), I.Bell (Hadd) skip Reserves: G.Blair (Hadd), C.Johnston (Giff), C.Valentine (C&PS), D.Oliver (C&PS), A.Martin (Ath), C.Bell (Hadd) All players requested to report at Gorebridge BC by no later than 12.30pm. Any player selected who is unable to play is requested to contact team manager Ian Bell immediately on 07846 075980.
Meanwhile on the international scene its congratulations to the talented trio of Derek Oliver (Cockenzie & Port Seton), Scott Kennedy and Billy Mellors (both West Barns) after all were named in the international senior gents team that will compete for the British Isles Home International series at Eddlewood BC in Hamilton on Saturday 27th & Sunday 28th June.
The Under 25 brigade of East Lothian sit joint top of the East section with Edinburgh & Leith and the garden county ‘young yins’ are favourites to turn in a winning performance against Midlothian at Cockenzie & Port Seton BC on Sunday (2pm). Going into Sunday’s final round of qualifying fixtures East Lothian trail Edinburgh & Leith by 13 shots but the ‘townies’ face a potentially testing away fixture against Borders in their final match. “If the lads can deliver the same level of performance they applied against Edinburgh & Leith then I’m very confident we can finish the campaign with a victory and hopefully fingers crossed it will be good enough to win the section”, said team manager Stevie Greenan. Greenan brings back team captain Glenn Blair while EL-Coop’s Ewan Fallen makes his first appearance of the campaign in a slightly reshuffled line-up that reads:- D.Riva (Giff), D.French (Elph), R.Cochrane (P/G), K.Frame (C/P) skip C.Allison (E/L), J.Robertson (Tra), R.Thomson (ELCO), G.White (Aber) skip S.Robertson (C/P), B.Inglis (Aber), D.French (Elph), C.Bell (Hadd) skip L.Newlands (Ath), H.Robertson (C/P), S.Gray (C/P), J.Burnett (C/P) skip C.Brock (Hadd), J.Ferguson (Long), E.Fallen (ELCO), S.White (ELCO) skip F.Pringle (C/P), K.Yule (P/G), M.McWilliams (Hadd), G.Blair (Hadd) skip Reserves:- R.French (Elph), S.Johnston (Orm), R.Irvine (P/G), A.Martin (Ath), B.Forbes (ELCO), C.Darling (Giff), S.Newlands (Ath), K.Simants (Dun), C.Innes (P/G) All players requested to report at Cockenzie & Port Seton by no later than 1.30pm. Any player selected who is unable to play is requested to contact team manager Stevie Greenan immediately on 07712 277681.
The Bowls Scotland District qualifiers for East Lothian reach their conclusion this coming Monday evening from 7pm. The venue for finals night was to be decided later this week following the conclusion of Wednesday night’s semi-final action.
The district finals of the Scottish Young Bowlers National Championships took place at a windswept Cockenzie & Port Seton BC last Saturday to decide who will represent the East Lothian challenge in the national finals. Sean Mackie of EL-Coop will spearhead the garden county challenge in the singles event at the championships at Ayr Northfield on Monday July 27th. Megan Kivlin and Dean Riva of EL-Coop will be the pair’s representatives while the Aberlady trio of Sam Penman, Bruce Kellagher and Matt Kellagher will carry the local hopes in the triples event.
Week 7 of 18 in Division 1 of the East Coast Carpets sponsored East Lothian Leagues resulted in Haddington’s lead at the top being reduced to just four points as Tranent made a major move on the leaders with a thumping 8-0 win at West Barns while the ‘Hi Hi’s’ were hard pushed to record a 5-3 win at Castlepark A. Gifford achieved a cracking 6-2 home win over a previously high flying EL-Coop side while Cockenzie & Port Seton registered a hard fought 5-3 home win over Castlepark. East Linton bounced back to winning form and their 6-2 win at home to Dunbar moved them onto the 23 point mark but their foot of the table visitors are in dire trouble with a mere 13 points from their seven games.
In tonight’s (Friday) Division 1 action leaders Haddington face a potentially testing home challenge against Cockenzie & Port Seton while second placed Tranent entertain Gifford at Polson Park. EL-Coop, with home advantage, will fancy their chances of getting back to winning ways at the expense of Castlepark A while foot of the table Dunbar entertain West Barns. East Linton makes the trip down to Prestonpans to tackle Castlepark.
Just a reminder that all club secretaries are requested to ensure that all league and cup results, including shots aggregate score, are phoned into ELBA Match Secretary Keith Fender on 01620 860217 or via text message 07786 110416 immediately after each match.