Day 1 at the Bowls Scotland National Championships being staged weeklong at Ayr Northfield got off to an encouraging start for the East Lothian challengers with only the Gents Senior Fours suffering an early exit in Mondays opening day of action.Read More
Kieran Dodds of EL-Coop served up a winning performance in the Gents Junior Singles with an impressive 21-19 win over Jordan Baptie of Glencarse. East Lothian also cheered a win in the Gents Senior Singles with Billy Dunleavey of Aberlady winning an epic battle against John Bremen of Greenfaulds, 21-20. Depressing news for East Lothian though came with the shock first-round exit of the strongly formed EL-Coop Senior Four of Derek Stein, Jim Bonner, Dougie Berwick and Willie Auld at the hands of Inverkeithing. There was also a sunny start for the East Lothian challengers in the ladies disciplines with Janet Fairnie of Castlepark thrilling her supporters in the Senior Singles with a comprehensive 21-6 win over Janice Grant of Kirkintilloch while the Dunbar Senior Four of Caroline Duncan, Eileen Young, Cathy Murray and Ann McDonald progressed at the 17-15 expense of Elgin. In the Mixed Pairs the Castlepark pairing of Margaret Thomson and Jamie Frame moved into the second round after a 20-16 win over Dunning. Meanwhile East Lothian high profile stars Billy Mellors and Megan Kivlin are among the frontline contenders challenging to capture the Holy Grail gents and ladies singles crown later this week. Haddington ace Mellors brought the title back to Edinburgh in 2006 under the banner of Goldenacre and came close to sparking similar celebrations last year for East Lothian when the beaten favourite in the final. He starts this year’s title bid today (Thursday) at 5pm and faces a tough opening round test against Mark O’Hagan of Whitefield. Megan Kivlin of EL-Coop captured the Junior Singles title in 2016 and now bids to add to that success however she is double fisted at Ayr (also Junior Singles) and aiming to succeed her garden county colleague Dee Hoggan as Singles Champion proper. Kivlin was due to enter the fray at today at 1.30pm and faced a first round encounter with Isobel Laing of Elgin. The Dunbar partnership of Steven Anderson and Kern Gallagher carry local hopes in the Gents Pairs while the ultra-talented Baillie sisters, Leanne and Lauren, of Cockenzie & Port Seton will be aiming to make it title number 5 in the Ladies pairs. In the Gents Triples the Macmerry trio of Paul Mair, Kenny Donaldson and Billy Cormack represent the East Lothian banner while Eleanor Bisset, Beth Riva and Morag Wood of Gifford are the challengers in the ladies. Keith Hamilton, Calum Blair, Keith Fender and Grant Fender of East Linton are the local challengers in the Gents Fours while Ella Gorman, Riva Campbell, Essa Scott and Beth McDonald of Cockenzie & Port Seton go for national title glory in the ladies.
Meanwhile, the SYBA National Finals started a week of top class bowling at Ayr Northfield last Sunday but unfortunately there was to be no national title successes for the East Lothian representatives. Robbie Buchanan of Cockenzie & Port Seton was drawn in a very competitive section and failed to qualify through to the knockout stage. The Aberlady paring of Luke Cowan and Melissa Penman put up a tremendous showing in the Pairs playdown action but 4 wins from 5 was remarkably still not good enough for them to progress further in the competition. The EL-Coop triple of Beth Riva, Kieran Dodds and Robbie Shields went through their qualifying section undefeated, winning all five games played. Unfortunately, they came up against a very strong triple from West Lothian in the shape of Pumpherston in their semi-final and suffered a narrow 6-5 defeat.
On the international stage, Megan Kivlin of EL-Coop was last weekend part of a Scotland Ladies Under 25 side that battled hard but were forced to play second fiddle to winners England in the BIWBC Junior Internationals at Victoria Park in Leamington Spa. The young Scots got their campaign off to the perfect start with a 91-59 win against Wales then followed that up with a 96-51 win against Ireland. There third and final match of the series on Sunday morning was a winner takes all clash against England. Both sides served up a wonderful spectacle, but it was England who delivered more of the knockout blows in the latter stages of the encounter and celebrated a 58-78 triumph.
The East Lothian Under 25 side hopes of landing a first ever title success in the Under 25 Scottish Cup came to grief at the semi-final stage last Sunday when they lost 67-53 to Lanarkshire at Strathmiglo BC.
The high-flying East Lothian senior brigade goes for four wins in a row, and has home environment advantage, when they tackle West Fife at EL-Coop BC in Monday’s Section 2 fixture in the Inter County Senior League Cup for the coveted Matt Purdie Trophy. Team convenor Tom Young brings back East Linton legend George Cowan at the expense of Bobby Scott while there are slight positional changes involving Peter Fallen and Dougie Kennedy. The team reads: – Boyd (ELCO), D.Hogg (ELCO), A.Valentine (ELCO), T.Young (Dun) skip G.McLeod (Aber), J.Murray (Dun), D.Kennedy (W/B), G.Cowan (E/L) skip K.Morgan (C&PS), I.James (ELCO), J.Bonner (ELCO), A.Morgan (C&PS) skip B.Brunton (Dun), A.Jamieson (C&PS), G.Smith (ELCO), A.Burt (Hadd) skip P.Fallen (Elph), J.Smith (ELLC), D.Arnott (ELCO), A.Russell (Tra) Reserves: K.Glen (Elph), J.P.Hamilton (W/B), G.Gray (ELLC), B.Scott (Mac), D.Pryde (Mac) Any player selected who is unable to play is requested to contact team convenor Tom Young immediately on 07759 435750. All players, including named reserves, to report at EL-Coop BC for 11.15am.
EL-Coop’s lead at the top of the Division 1 table of the East Coast Carpets sponsored East Lothian Leagues has diminished to just a two-point advantage over nearest challengers Haddington with four games remaining and there is still menacing pressure from third place Cockenzie & Port Seton. Last Friday night’s action saw EL-Coop fail to make home green advantage in a shock 8-0 defeat to neighbours Tranent. The fixture was a golden opportunity for the long-time leaders to cement themselves into a very strong position for a first ever title success in the new league set-up but on the night, they failed to deliver on all three rinks. The memorable result for Tranent moved them out of the relegation zone and seven points clear of fellow strugglers Haddington A and a further point ahead of foot of the table West Barns. Haddington took full advantage of the leader’s major slip-up as they revelled in their home environment advantage to score an 8-0 win over Dunbar and jump back into title contention. Defending champions Cockenzie & Port Seton remain in the title picture but done themselves no favours with a surprisingly lack lustre performance at East Linton which ended in a 6-2 defeat. Haddington A suffered a 6-2 defeat at Castlepark while West Barns visit to Elphinstone resulted in an 8-0 thumping and there is now a red alert danger signal of them heading for the dreaded drop.
There is no league action on Friday night due to the current staging of the Bowls Scotland National Championships but there is a full round of midweek fixtures in all four divisions this coming Wednesday evening (August 1). Division 1 leaders EL-Coop title credentials is expected to face a stern examination when they visit third placed rivals Cockenzie & Port Seton. Haddington are also the away team and face a Tranent side still on a massive high following their recent local derby win. Relegation zoned sides Haddington A and West Barns both face must win home fixtures against East Linton and Castlepark respectively while the other fixture is the battle of the mid table sides when Dunbar entertain Elphinstone. All clubs are reminded that the starting time for the remaining evening games of the season is 6.30pm. 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. Draw for the East Lothian Labour Club Open Triples, sponsored by AC’s Taxis, at Polson Park on Saturday is as follows: – 9.30am P.Watson, J.Rolland, G.Gray, K.McShane, A.Martin, R.Strang, C.Edmond, K.Whitson 10.30am J.Bonner, R.Marwick, S.Cochrane, G.Scott, I.Anderson, C.Glen, R.Bonner, B.Messer