British Isles titleholders Jamie Higgins and Derek Oliver have failed in their bid to recapture the Scottish 4-Bowl Pairs title after they made a disappointing third round exit in the playdown action at Cumbernauld IBC last weekend.
The high profile partnership captured the title in 2013 and expectations were very high again that Higgins and Oliver could repeat the success and go on a deliver a fifth title success in the event for the garden county. The action at Cumbernauld saw the talented duo face Dennis Buchanan and Max Taylor of Fintry in the preliminary round and they turned on the style to record an nearly unbelievable winning scoreline of 49-3. The Midlothian pairing of Kevin McDougall and Jamie Hanlon provided the second round opposition and yet again they served up an awesome display of bowling to celebrate a 31-5 victory that secured their place in the third round. Carrying the Saturday form over into Sunday’s play is a fresh challenge and Higgins and Oliver never quite fired on as many cylinders in there clash with Prestwick’s strong pairing of Craig Lindsay and World No.1 Paul Foster and the outcome was a 26-16 defeat. “Our form dipped slightly on the Sunday morning but to be fair the way we played would probably have been good enough to beat most pairings but Paul (Foster) played big bowls at important times during the match and that proved to be the difference”, reflected Higgins.
In the ladies playdown action, also at Cumbernauld IBC, the East Lothian challenge for the title was in the hands of the talented mother and daughter partnership of Rosemary and Gillian Mackintosh. The duo received a first round bye then showed great form to beat Betty Johnston and Kim Ross of Balbardie 24-18 on the Saturday afternoon session before losing 21-16 to Liz Wilson and Jeannie Ritchie of Paisley on Sunday morning.
The ultra-talented senior side made it a magnificent six wins out of six when they beat local rivals Midlothian 70-60 on away soil last Wednesday in the East B section of the Scottish Senior League. Wins on the rinks skipped by Jock Brodie (+16), Willie Wood MBE (+8) and Tom Young (+2) was the pleasing aspect of strong team performance that just coped with the double margin defeat by Peter Laidlaw (-16). The win means the garden county ‘auld yins’ are now in an uncatchable position at the top of the section with two rounds of fixtures still to fulfil. The side enjoyed a free week on Wednesday but do return to action this coming Wednesday (December 3) when they entertain Tweedbank.
The men’s side from East Lothian IBC are back in Scottish Premier League action tomorrow (Saturday) and hope to make it three wins in a row but will have their mettle tested again with a trip along the M8 to tackle second placed Paisley. World stage star Alex Marshall MBE remains an absentee while junior cap Ewan Fallen also misses out. Opportunity knocks strikes again for Under 18 internationalist Calvert Allison in a line-up that reads: M.Johnston (capt), D.Berwick, A.Jeffrey, J.Higgins skip G.Muir, A.Burt, G.Robertson, D.Oliver skip C.Allison, S.Logan, W.W.Wood MBE, B.Mellors skip L.Middler, G.Darling, S.Thomson, S.Kennedy skip
The ladies side also return to national league action tomorrow and are on home terrority when they face Division 1C rivals Bainfield. Janet Fairnie, Cathy Ward, Emma Brown and Nancy McNeil will skip the East Lothian rinks while Muriel Hamilton makes a welcome return to the line-up but Yvonne Veitch is again an absentee. The team reads:M.Kivlin, P.Turner, M.Thomson, J.Fairnie skip D.Rowan, M.Devine, M.Hamilton, C.Ward skip J.McFarlane, J.Russell, R.Mackintosh, E.Brown skip M.Murray, I.Combe, G.Mackintosh, N.McNeil
The youth side is in East of Scotland Junior League action tomorrow (Saturday) morning when they make the trip over the River Forth to Methil to tackle East Fife. Meanwhile there was no much joy for the garden county young brigade at last Sunday’s East of Scotland Championships at Abbeyview IBC in Dunfermline when both the pairs and triples failed to qualify from their respective qualifying sections.