Youngsters Megan Kivlin and Dean Riva of EL-Coop Bowling Club in Tranent were crowned national champions on Monday when they brought home the Scottish Young Bowlers Pairs title to East Lothian for only a second time following victory over Cupar of Fife in the final at Ayr Northfield.
The final was a thrilling affair and went all the way to an extra end before Riva, nephew of world stage star Alex Marshall MBE, played a wonder bowl with the final delivery of the match to capture the title. For Kivlin it completes a memorable double as she now holds the national pairs titles on both indoor and outdoor codes. EL-Coop also boasted the local representative in the singles action but they had to make a late change when district champion Sean Mackie had to withdraw from the event due to his football commitments with Raith Rovers and his place was taken by David Young. Young put up a tremendous effort winning three of his five qualifying games in a tight section, including a win against the eventual section winner. Unfortunately he missed out on making the semi-finals by an agonising one shot but it was great effort for a youngster who’s only played competitive bowls for four months. In the triples it was Sam Penman, Bruce Kellagher and Matt Kellagher of Longniddry competing and they recorded victories in two matches but lost out in three matches so did not make the semi-finals.
It’s the pinnacle of the Scottish outdoor bowling scene this week as the best of the best descend on the Ayr Northfield Complex for the National Bowling Championships. First into battle from East Lothian was the gents senior four with Willie Doran, Sinclair Thomson, Kenny Morgan and Alex Jamieson of Cockenzie & Port Seton in action at 9.30am on Tuesday against Winchburgh. Also on Tuesday the challenge in the ladies senior singles came in the shape of Janet Fairnie of Castlepark and she faced Ina Todd of West Kilbride in her opener while in the gent’s senior singles it was hoped Sandy Plenderleith would give his Gifford support something to shout about when he opened against John Nicol of Rothienorman. Irene Cunningham, Susan Crooks, Alisha Irvine and June Rutherford of Gullane carry the local hopes in the ladies senior fours and faced Ardross Alness in the opening round. The challenge in the Mixed Pairs looked a strong one as the eye-catching Tranent pairing of Dee Hoggan and John McCrorie entered the event as one of the favourites and faced Hyndland in their opening match. The action in the senior singles and fours plus the mixed pairs concluded yesterday (Thursday)
The mainstream action of the championships swung into action yesterday (Thursday) and the ladies four of Essa Baillie, Liz Brown, Beth McDonald and Leanne Baillie from Cockenzie & Port Seton were first up on the main stage at 9am against Zetland. Following them onto the green shortly afterwards was the Longniddry pairing of Mary Talbot and Reva Campbell who faced Bonnybridge at 9.30am in the opening round of the ladies pairs. At 11am the Tranent duo of Jim Bonner and Brian ‘Sconie’ Young began their quest for glory in the gent’s pairs but had it knowingly tough against Scotland cap Ronnie Duncan and Kevin McDougall of Bonnyrigg. Entering the fray later on in the day was the West Barns four of Kevin Thomson, Chris O’Brien, Gary Landells and Alister Kennedy who faced Thornton at 5pm. In today’s (Friday) action EL-Coop’s Ross Thomson is a strong hope to bring the gents junior singles crown back to the garden county and opens at 9am against Douglas Balfour of Giffnock. At the same time Thomson’s EL-Coop teammates Craig Cochrane, Duncan Hogg and Gordon Pryde open their campaign in the gent’s triples against Oldmeldrum while in the ladies triples Margaret Nisbet, Maureen Lorimer and Irene Robertson of North Berwick opened against Hillside. The garden county challenge in the gent’s singles is excitingly strong in the shape of experienced campaigner Billy Mellors. He won the coveted blue ribbon title back in 2006 while representing Edinburgh club Goldenacre and the champion of West Barns goes head to head with Scott Mackintosh of London Road Foundary at 1pm. The local title challenge in the ladies singles lies in the hands of Castlepark’s Janet Fairnie and she takes to the green at 11am against Kirsty Sinclair of Polmuir. The finals days play takes place on Sunday.
The East Lothian Under 25 side dreams of being the first team to etch their name on the Scottish Cup is over and although it was a close call the heartbreak defeat by 2 shots (68-66) left the garden county troops feeling they blew it against Lanarkshire in the semi-final action at Sighthill BC in Edinburgh last Sunday. To rub salt in the wounds of their exit the East Lothian support had cheered wins on three of the four rinks however the combined margin of supremacy achieved by skips, Glenn Blair, James Burnett and Ewan Fallen only added up to fourteen shots and not enough to cover the major 16 shot setback suffered by Kieran Frame. “I can’t fault the spirit and effort put in by my players who did come close to making it into the final but that extra touch of magic was missing on vital occasions and the result just slipped away from us”, reflected team co-manager Stevie Greenan.
Meanwhile the East Lothian senior brigade came out of their alarming nosedive in the Inter-County Senior League Cup for the Matt Purdie Trophy in spectacular fashion and caused a formbook upset with their 8 shot away victory (59-51) over East section leaders Edinburgh & Leith at London Road Foundary BC on Monday. It’s a result that gives the garden county ‘auld yins’ the sniff of a chance, going into the final two fixtures, of finishing in the top two, but they will need to win both of them and hope other results go in their favour. “The fighting spirit showed by the team was great and they showed the desire and commitment that was sadly lacking in our previous match”, said team manager Andy Burt.
The final outcome was a close call with Edinburgh & Leith mostly dictating the pace but never quite reached a comfort zone and paying the ultimate price as East Lothian conjured up a magic finish to grab victory. Team manager Andy Burt was well pleased at the winning away performances on the rinks skipped by George Cowan (+11), Alex Jamieson (+4) and Alan Morgan (+1). One rink did fail to achieve supremacy over their respective opponent however the margin of defeat inflicted on Tommy Young was slight and raise no cause for alarming concern.
The side is back in action on Monday when they travel across the River Forth to face West Fife at Lumphinnans BC. Team manager Andy Burt as made a few adjustments to the side and it reads:- B.Scott (Mac), J.Holmes (ELLC), D.Kennedy (W/B), G.Cowan (E/L) skip J.P.Hamilton (W/B), G.Gray (ELLC), G.Blyth (ELLC), A.Morgan (C&PS) skip B.Brunton (Dun), S.Delaney (Hadd), G.Smith (ELCO), A.Jamieson (C&PS) skip P.Fallen (Elph), W.Fotheringham (Long), R.Strang (Elph), T.Young (Dun) skip Reserves pool: – J.Smith (ELLC), D.Hogg (ELCO), M.Hunter (Giff), K.Morgan (C&PS), K.Boyd (ELCO), T.Morrison (Dun) Bus pick-up times:-
Haddington (Corn Exchange) 9.40am
Tranent (Brig Inn) 10am
Any player selected who is unable to play is requested to contact Andy Burt immediately on 07783 323079. There are seats available on the bus for anyone who would like to support the team and these can be booked by contacting Andy Burt.
Bold frontrunners Tranent continue to lead the race for the Division 1 title of the East Coast Carpets sponsored East Lothian Leagues; but the gap between them and defending champions Haddington has been cut to only 6 points following last Friday night’s action.
Tranent suffered only their second defeat of the campaign as they lost 6-2 away at Cockenzie & Port Seton while Haddington ramped up the pressure on the long-time leaders with good 6-2 home win over Castlepark. Castlepark A still occupy the relegation zone but they gave themselves a great chance of beating the drop after beating East Linton, 6-2, and are now only 7 points behind Gifford who’s miserable run of form continued when they went down 8-0 at home against West Barns. EL-Coop bounced back to winning ways after they delivered a predictable 6-2 home win over relegation doomed opponents Dunbar. In Division 2 Elphinstone put the cat among the pigeons with a sensational 8-0 home win over long time leaders Prestongrange. Aberlady were the major benefactors as they went five points clear thanks to a 6-2 home over fellow title chasers Tranent A. With four fixtures remaining the race for the title looks a four horse race and with fourth placed Elphinstone still very much in the melting pot. Division 3 leaders Ormiston suffered a 6-2 mishap away to Macmerry but still have comfort zone lead over nearest challengers Haddington A going into the final few fixtures. Cockenzie & Port Seton B took another huge step towards securing the Division 4 title following their 6-2 away win at West Barns A. The league action takes a break this week due to the national championships taking place at Ayr Northfield.
Meanwhile Cockenzie & Port Seton Bowling Club are also staging an Open Pairs tournament on Saturday 15th August with a high class field expected to challenge for the lucrative £400+ prize fund on offer in the Belhaven Brewery sponsored event. The tournament is a round robin event and entries are now being accepted and can be obtained by contacting club match secretary Steven Morgan on 01875 810481.