East Lothian IBC men’s side determination to win the Scottish Cup for a magnificent seventh time was evident in a battling performance to beat Cumbernauld 81-79 in their quarter-final clash at Falkirk IBC last Saturday.
The six times champions suffered a huge pre-match blow when top star Scott Kennedy had to withdraw from the side after he endured car troubles en route to the game. Stewart Thomson took over at skip with Gary Darling promoted from second to third while Brian Galloway was drafted in from the reserve bench to play at second. Division 2 side Cumbernauld were serious underdogs going into the clash but in the previous round they had inflicted pain on premier division outfit Bainfield and are well noted for being a good cup team. They did inflict serious pain on Jamie Higgins while Derek Oliver was held to a draw, but the rinks skipped by Billy Mellors and stand-in skip Stewart Thomson were successful. Mellors skipped Andrew Jeffrey, Andy Burt and Dougie Berwick to an admirable 13 shot win over Gary Wilson while Thomson skipped Lessel Middler, Brian Galloway and Gary Darling to a commendable 3 shot win over Frank Hillis. Oliver faced daunting pressure at 4 down with 3 ends left but staged an exciting fight-back to skip Ewan Fallen, John Robertson and Graham Robertson to an 18-18 share of the spoils. The major downside for East Lothian came with the 27-13 defeat of Mark Johnston, Calum Darling, Willie Wood MBE and Higgins at the hands of Jim Byron. “We failed to stamp our authority or unsettle the opposition at any time during the match and we nearly paid the ultimate price”, said team captain Mark Johnston. He added, “I would like to give a special mention to Brian Galloway for attending the game as a reserve as if had not been there we could have been in a dire situation”. The semi-final at Stirling IBC on Saturday, April 4, promises to be a real cracker with East Lothian going head-to-head with four times champions and arch rivals Midlothian.
East Lothian IBC has a strong looking interest in the final stages of the joint Scottish Indoor Championships that are down for decision at Lanarkshire IBC in Wishaw this weekend. Mark Johnston, Billy Mellors and Derek Oliver target the gent’s triples with the strong garden county trio continuing their bid for national glory with a semi-final clash against Andy Greenwood, John Cowie and Jim Byron of Cumbernauld tomorrow (Saturday) at 9.30am. The other last four clash in the triples features Elgin against Ardrossan. In the afternoon (2pm) Mellors and Oliver team up with Andrew Jeffrey and Scott Kennedy to go for glory in the gents fours as they square up to a high quality Elgin rink consisting of Norman Barker, Andrew Barker, Graeme Donaldson and Mike Stepney. The other last four clash features West Lothian against Lanarkshire.
On the international stage its huge congratulations to East Lothian young rising star Megan Kivlin after she was selected for a Scotland Under 18 side that will participate in a British Home International series on weekend of Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 October at Ballybrakes IBC in Northern Ireland. Kivlin will participate in both the triple and four disciplines. It has also been announced that East Lothian’s Scott Kennedy will be the team manager for the young Scots.
Last Wednesday’s ongoing qualifying action in the Jock Brodie Senior Challenge Cup, sponsored by Norman T Craig and Co-operative Funeralcare, saw Falkirk and Midlothian serve up a tremendous battle that ended in a 4-4 draw. The result was enough for Falkirk to win Section 3 and progress through to the knockout semi-final stage while Midlothian face an anxious wait to see if they will go through as highest runners-up. The action continued on Wednesday with East Lothian A facing West Lothian and Headwell tackling Bainfield. The club has confirmed the semi-finals will be staged on Wednesday April 1 at 11am with the grand final a week later.
Meanwhile, East Lothian IBC stages the final of the Central District Senior Top Six final tomorrow (Saturday) from 2pm. The final will be contested between Midlothian and Abbeyview and local spectators are encouraged to come and watch the clash.
The youth side from East Lothian IBC are in action tomorrow (Saturday) at the Midlothian IBC Youth Team tournament and youth convenor Peter Fallen has named the following squad of players Dean Riva, Megan Kivlin, Robbie Reay, Robbie Buchanan, Robbie Shields, Kieran Dodds, Cameron Shaw, Craig Mackintosh, Lewis Betts and Aaron Betts. The minibus will depart Meadowmill stadium at 9am.
Turning attention to the fast approaching outdoor season and East Lothian are gearing up for its challenge for the Scottish Counties Championship (Andrew Hamilton Trophy) title and the schedule for their East section qualifying campaign is, (Saturday’s 2pm) May 9, v Borders at Melrose; May 16, v West Barns at Prestongrange; May 23, v Edinburgh & Leith at Cockenzie & Port Seton; May 30, v Stirling County East at Larbert; June 6, v Fife at West Barns; June 13, v Midlothian at Gorebridge; June 20, v West Lothian at Haddington.
Finally the sad passing of weel kent face Alister ‘Buttons’ Kennedy at the age of 72 is being mourned by East Lothian Bowling Circles at large with the former joiner in the garden county giving loyal service to Stenton BC, West Barns BC and East Linton BC as well as East Lothian Bowling Association.