West Barns made the long journey to Angus last Sunday to play Carnoustie West End in the preliminary round action of the Co-operative Funeralcare sponsored Scottish Inter County Top Ten and the East Lothian champions were taken right down to the wire before returning with a 5-3 point’s victory
Icon figure Billy Mellors spearheaded the attack with a terrific win in the all-important singles clash. Fellow internationalist Scott Kennedy skipped Kevin Thomson to another crucial win in the pairs while in the fours clash Dougie Kennedy, Billy Cormack, Scott Thorburn and Calum Gordon carded a single to grab a draw. Ian Knox, Gary Landells and Alister Kennedy lost out in the triples. “We are delighted to progress to the next round of the tournament after beating a very strong Carnoustie West End side. The Top Ten seems to be a format which our wee club excels in”, commented team captain Scott Kennedy. West Barns face another mammoth journey on Sunday as they head to Aberdeen to face Bon Accord champions Westhill in the first round proper.
East Lothian got back to winning ways as they produced a fighting performance in their quest to qualify for the knockout stage of the Andrew Hamilton Trophy from the competitive East section with a hard fought 126-119 victory over West Fife at Prestongrange BC in the second round of fixtures in the Scottish Counties Championships. West Fife is a team on the up and did make an impression with their defeats on the rinks skipped by former national singles champion John McCrorie and captain Craig Valentine. But the garden county had the upper hand on the rinks skipped by Scott Kennedy, Billy Mellors, Derek Oliver and Ian Bell and that tipped the scales in the home sides favour.
“Even this early in the campaign we felt this was a must win fixture for us so I asked the team for a big performance and in delivering I was impressed by their sense of focus and strong will to win”, commented team manager Ian Bell. Returning star Kennedy collected the highest up rink accolade as he skipped Chris ‘one shoe’ Johnston, Matt Osborne and Tom Young to an encouraging 22-14 win over Robert McFarlane. Mellors and his front three of Ross Thomson, Jamie Gordon and Stephen Cochrane set up a good 13-2 lead before finishing 25-19 winners against Paul Brown while Oliver lifted the spirits of his rink with a mighty 5 at end seven to cross 11-4 then made good headway with Adam Martin, Gordon Baillie and Glenn Blair to lead 18-7 before settling for a 24-18 win over Andrew Kennedy. Bell celebrated a high moment at end 17 with a mighty count of 4 to close to 18-19 then skipped Stewart Johnston, Billy Cormack and Craig McLeod to a battling 22-21 win over Craig Watson. McCrorie carded three singles, a double and three trebles in a 25-14 defeat from Kenny Bald and Valentine slipped from 13-17 to a 22-19 defeat from Jim McGuire.
The side is back in action tomorrow (Saturday) when their involved in the ‘match of the day’ in the East section as they face table toppers Edinburgh & Leith at Cockenzie & Port Seton BC. Team manager Ian Bell is happy enough to remain loyal to the guys who delivered the goods against West Fife but has added Ross Marwick of Prestongrange to the reserve pool. 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), T.Young (Dun), 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: J.Gearty (C&PS), McCormack (Win), R.Branley (C&PS), R.Marwick (P/G), B.Young (Tra)
All players requested to report at Cockenzie & Port Seton by no later than 1.15pm. Any player selected who is unable to play is requested to contact team manager Ian Bell immediately on 07846 075980.
Meanwhile the Under 25 brigade of East Lothian opened their Scottish League Cup campaign with a commanding 25 shot victory (117-92) over Fife County at Windygates BC in Leven last Sunday.
Wins on four rinks – skipped by Glenn Blair (+12), Steven White (+11), Mark McWilliams (+5) and Gordon White (+3) – plus a peel for James Burnett and a narrow defeat for Fraser Pringle made it a dream start for the garden county ‘young yins’ and newly appointed team manager Stevie Greenan. The side is back in action on Sunday with home advantage at Haddington BC against Borders and Greenan sticks with same squad of players but in a slight re-shuffle makes two positional changes that involve Sam Gray and Kieran Simants swapping rinks. 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), K.Simants (Dun), F.Pringle (C/P) skip C.Innes (P/G), H.Robertson (C/P), S.Gray (C/P), 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)
All players requested to report at Haddington BC by no later than 1.30pm. Any player selected who is unable to play is requested to contact team manager Stevie Greenan immediately on 07712 277681.
The final of the Bowls Scotland Mixed Pairs will take centre stage at Castlepark BC on Monday evening from 7pm. The pairing who emerged victorious will represent East Lothian in the national finals at Ayr Northfield in late July.
Haddington are good value for money performers in Division 1 of the East Coast Carpets sponsored East Lothian Leagues and the reigning champions have made a fantastic start to their title defence with 29 points from a possible 32 banked over their first four games. Last Friday night’s crushing 8-0 victory at home against fellow form side Tranent was a tremendous effort and they are now a massive eleven points clear of the chasing pack. West Barns travelled down the road to East Linton with great expectations but were left nursing the wounds of a shock 7-1 defeat as the home side registered a much needed first win of the campaign. Cockenzie & Port Seton’s lack of early season sharpness was evident in a damaging 6-2 home defeat against EL-Coop. Wins on the rinks skipped by David Sked and Graham Dodds earned Gifford a 6-2 home win over Castlepark while in the battle of the Division 1 new boys it was Castlepark A who emerged victorious with a 6-2 home win over Dunbar.
In tonight’s (Friday) Division 1 action the Haddington bandwagon rolls onto Prestonpans when the early season runaway leaders tackle a currently out of form Castlepark side. Its third against fourth when West Barns play host to Gifford while second placed Tranent welcome Cockenzie & Port Seton to Polson Park. EL-Coop arrives at foot of the table Dunbar with their tails up and should be capable of giving them a tough time. East Linton will hope to make it win number two but will need to show good form when they play host to a confident Castlepark A side.
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.