East Lothian’s Scottish Counties Championship campaign for the coveted Andrew Hamilton Trophy got off to a losing start last Saturday as they suffered an agonising 115-114 shots setback against Borders at Melrose BC.
Defeat was sore to take but it was a tremendous effort from a depleted garden county side that had to contend with four late call-offs from an already under strength side. Billy Mellors, Ronnie Branley, Mark Riding and Michael Greenan all withdrew from the original side selected and it meant newly appointed team manager Ian Bell of Haddington had to make a number of frantic phone calls before securing the services of experience campaigner Stuart Johnston (Ormiston) while he handed debuts to Adam Martin (Athelstaneford) and David Whitson (Tranent) and Bell himself ended up having to play. The setback isn’t the end of the world because without doubt Borders are a very decent side but it does bring EL under immediate pressure in the race to finish in the top two of the East section. “In the end we were very unlucky not to sneak at least a draw as my rink was last on the green and we were lying the shots to win the game but the Borders third player got a maximum result with a weighted bowl to sneak second shot and unfortunately I could not get near it with my last two deliveries”, reflected Ian Bell. He added “Although disappointed with the result there were many positives to take from the game especially from the guys who made their debuts and I’m very confident we can still mount a challenge for the qualifying honours in the section”. The rinks skipped by Bell (+13), captain Craig Valentine (+10) and John McCrorie (+4) all recorded encouraging victories but the rinks skipped by Derek Oliver (-2), Stephen Cochrane (-10) and Brian Young (-17) all suffered damaging defeats.
East Lothian will hope to get back to winning ways tomorrow (Saturday) when they entertain West Fife at Prestongrange BC, who host their first ever Hamilton Trophy match. Star figures Billy Mellors and Scott Kennedy (both West Barns) are welcome additions to a slightly reshuffled garden county line-up. The unfortunate players dropping to the reserve bench are Tom Young (Dunbar) and John Gearty (Cockenzie & Port Seton). The full team reads:- S.White (ELCO), D.Whitson (Tra), C.Bell (Hadd), C.Valentine (C&PS) skip/capt R.Thomson (ELCO), J.Gordon (C&PS), S.Cochrane (ELCO), B.Mellors (W/B) skip A.Martin (Ath), G.Baillie (C&PS), G.Blair (Hadd), D.Oliver (C&PS) skip C.Johnston (Giff), M.Osborne (Tra), B.Young (Tra), S.Kennedy (W/B) skip G.White (Abe), B.Dunleavey (Abe), S.Greenan (P/G), J.McCrorie (Tra) skip S.Johnston (Orm), B.Cormack (W/B), C.McLeod (Giff), I.Bell (Hadd) skip Reserve pool: K.Simants (Dun), J.Gearty (C&PS), T.Young (Dun), M.McCormack (Win), J.Robertson (Tra), R.Branley (C&PS), C.Allison (E/L)
All players requested to report at Prestongrange BC by no later than 1.30pm. Any player selected who is unable to play is requested to contact team manager Ian Bell immediately on 07846 075980.
The Under 25 side have newly appointed team manager Stevie Greenan in charge of their 2015 campaign and the opening challenge for the garden county young brigade is a difficult one on Sunday in the shape of Fife at Windygates BC in Leven. Like the senior side Greenan has several key players unavailable to him in the shape of Jamie Blair, Ewan Fallen, Liam Gallacher and Ross Irvine. After a lot of deliberation Greenan has finally settled on his opening line-up and it reads as follows:- S.Clark (P/G), L.Newlands (Ath), R.Cochrane (P/G), G.Blair (Hadd) skip/capt C.Allison (E/L), J.Robertson (Tra), R.Thomson (ELCO), G.White (Abe) skip S.Robertson (C/P), B.Inglis (Abe), S.Gray (C/P), F.Pringle (C/P) skip C.Innes (P/G), H.Robertson (C/P), K.Simants (Dun), J.Burnett (C/P) skip B.Forbes (ELCO), A.Martin (Ath), C.Bell (Hadd), S.White (ELCO) skip C.Darling (Giff), S.Newlands (Ath), D.French (Elph), M.McWilliams (Hadd) skip Reserve pool: K.Yule (P/G), D.Riva (Giff), M.Martin (Tra), J.Ferguson (Long), L.Irvine (Tra), R.Irvine (P/G), K.Frame (C/P), S.Johnston (Orm), E.Fallen (ELCO), C.Brock (Hadd)
Bus pick-up times as follows:
East Linton (Main bus stop) 11.15am
Haddington (Corn exchange) 11.30am
Tranent (Police station) 11.45am
Prestonpans (Hasties garage) 12 noon
Any player selected who is unable to play is requested to contact team manager Stevie Greenan immediately on 07712 277681.
West Barns are the reigning Top Ten champions of East Lothian and they carry the county banner into the national preliminary round action on Sunday when they travel a fair distance to face Angus champions Carnoutie West End. The Barns reached the last four stage last year before losing out to West Lothian champions Kirkliston and again aspirations are high that they can another good run in the showpiece event. The full team reads: – Billy Mellors (Singles); Kevin Thomson and Scott Kennedy (Pairs); Ian Know, Gary Landells and Alister Kennedy (Triples) and Dougie Kennedy, Billy Cormack, Scott Thorburn and Calum Gordon (Fours).
The champagne cocks were popping at Gifford Bowling Club last Sunday evening after they claimed the first silverware of the domestic season when they lifted the ELBA Trophy for the first time after a convincing win over West Barns in the final played at Prestongrange BC. In the semi-final action Gifford seen off the spirited challenge of Dunbar at Prestongrange while West Barns were made to fight all the way before seeing off the challenge of Prestongrange at Castlepark.
Champions Haddington produced another solid performance on away terrority to score a terrific 7-1 point’s win over EL-Coop in round three of matches played last Friday evening in Division 1 of the East Coast Carpets sponsored East Lothian Leagues. The result moves the ‘Hi Hi’s’ three points clear of nearest challengers Tranent and their strong start to the campaign continued with a 6-2 at home to Castlepark A. West Barns ended Castlepark’s unbeaten start after they inflicted 8-0 misery on the Prestonpans side while Cockenzie & Port Seton registered their first win of the campaign with a confidence boosting 8-0 home win over East Linton. Gifford bounced back to winning ways with a 6-2 away win at Dunbar.
In tonight’s (Friday) Division 1 action a cracking encounter should be on the cards at Haddington when the leaders play host to second placed Tranent. West Barns make the short trip down the A1 to tackle a currently out of sorts East Linton side while Cockenzie & Port Seton entertain EL-Coop. Gifford are back on home soil and this time welcome Castlepark while it’s the battle of the Division 1 new boys when Castlepark A and Dunbar clash.
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.
Gifford Bowling & Sports Club is staging an Open Triples tournament on Saturday May 30. Entries should be made by telephone to the club on 01620 810517 by Sunday May 24.
Finally you can now keep up-to-date with all that is happening on the outdoor bowling scene in the garden county by following the website by East Lothian Bowling Association. All bowlers are urged to view by clicking on www.eastlothianbowls.co.uk