East Lothian Indoor Bowling Club will be prominent in the showpiece occasions of the ladies and men’s national league finals after the ladies scored a magnificent victory over reigning champions Auchinleck in their semi-final clash while the men registered the home win against Elgin they required as at the same time chief rivals West Lothian capitulated at Paisley.Read More
The ladies travelled along the M8 to Cumbernauld to face a tough battle against Ayrshire giants Auchinleck in their playoff semi-final of the Scottish Premier League and an on-song performance saw the star from the garden county call the tune with a 6-shot victory (82-76). “To beat an ultra-talented side like Auchinleck is testament to the quality this current team possesses in all departments, and we are now just one win away from realising the ultimate dream of becoming national champions for a first time”, commented an ecstatic Team Manager Gordon Pryde.
Their performance at Cumbernauld saw East Lothian misfire badly on one rink; but rise in magnificent fashion to that challenge with winning contributions from Dee Hoggan, Lauren Baillie and Emma Logan. Hoggan and her front three of Margaret Devine, Beth Riva and Gillian Mackintosh got off to a great start but did have their comfort zone challenged at time however they kept responding and a great finish delivered a 27-13 win over Heather Ray. Team captain Baillie skipped Jackie McFarlane, Arlene Berwick and Leanne Baillie into an 11-0 lead then soon carded 1, 1, 3, 2 to 21-5 on the road to a 24-15 win over Maureen Shimmons. Logan skipped Margaret Murray, Jean Russell and Kim Hoggan into a healthy 17-9 lead before settling for a 20-19 win over Josephine Williamson. Fairnie and her rink of Melissa Penman, Muriel Hamilton and Margaret Thomson suffered hard times in the second half of their encounter with world stage figure Claire Johnston and ended up with a nightmare defeat of 29-11. Opposition in the final at Whiteinch IBC in Glasgow on Saturday week (February 17) will be West Premier Division winners Glasgow.
“It’s a funny old game at times” were the words uttered by East Lothian IBC men’s team captain Dougie Berwick after seeing his side sensationally book their place in the Scottish Premier League playoff final. Entering the final set of fixtures in the B section last Saturday West Lothian were the clear-cut table toppers and looked an absolute stick on to beat foot of the table Paisley while East Lothian would have to register a big home win against Elgin. The latter side duly delivered with a comfortable enough 93-60 triumph, but leaders West Lothian faltered badly at the final hurdle and succumbed to a shock 43 shot defeat. When the dust finally settled East Lothian finished top of the table with a better-shot margin back of plus 47. “Did we see that coming – absolutely not!” reflected Berwick afterwards. “All we could was making sure we won our game with as many shots as possible then hope and pray for a positive result from Paisley, however, on formbook that looked very unlikely but luckily for us the formbook went right out the window on this occasion!”
Not for the first time this season Alex ‘Tattie’ Marshall emerged the man of the moment in his side’s triumph over Elgin with the world stage figure grabbing the limelight with a massive contribution. Starting like a house on fire to lead 12-3 after 10 ends he then kept up pace to skip Mark Yuill, Dougie Berwick and Stewart Thomson to an inspiring 26-8 win over Michael Junor. Much is expected of icon figure Billy Mellors on his own carpet and he duly delivered against fellow Scotland cap Mike Stepney with a 29-12 triumph. Derek Oliver lost a double on the last to lose 18-17 against Andrew Barker while Graham Robertson suffered the same scenario in a 22-21 loss to Graeme Donaldson. Standing in East Lothian’s path of trying to make it a record breaking eight national title successes is A section winners Blantyre and they will have an extra edge of having home advantage when the showpiece final is staged on their own patch on Saturday March 3. Before that, East Lothian will be in Scottish Cup first round proper action against Division 2 minnows Forfar at a still unknown neutral venue on Saturday week (February 17).
East Lothian young star Megan Kivlin is on indoor international duty this coming weekend when she is part of a Scotland Ladies Under 25 side hoping to retain the British Isles Home International Under 25 Championships at Nottingham IBC. Kivlin participates in only her second series and for the second consecutive year plays lead in the rink skipped by West of Scotland player Rachel Sinclair.
The senior side were in Scottish Senior Cup action on Wednesday and faced a potentially tough looking challenge when they make the short trip to Edinburgh venue Bainfield to take on Headwell in the first round proper. Meanwhile, the qualifying action in the Jock Brodie Senior Challenge Cup, jointly sponsored by Norman T Craig and Plumbing and Electrical Services of Dunbar, resumed at the Alex Marshall Arena on Wednesday and featured Bainfield against Teviotdale and Tweedbank versus Abbeyview. This coming Wednesday (February 14) there is a double header of qualifying action due to the cancellation of games in January due to adverse weather. The first two matches will take place from 10am when West Lothian tackle Midlothian and Berwickshire play Bainfield. The second round of matches kick-off at 1pm and feature East Lothian against Perth while Headwell go head to head with Abbeyview in a tasty Fife derby. To accommodate the double header of matches the domestic Mixed Triple games originally scheduled for the 2-4pm session is now being played from 4-6pm.
On the youth international stage, its huge congratulations to the East Lothian young trio of Lewis Betts, Robbie Shields and Danny Stevenson after all were selected for the Scotland Under 18 side that will participate in a British Home International series being hosted by Wales in October. Unfortunately, fellow garden county stars Beth Riva and Aaron Betts never made the final 10-man line-up but by all accounts, both gave excellent account of themselves in the recent trial match at Paisley IBC. Also confirmed was that East Lothian icon figure Scott Kennedy will be team manager for the young Scots for a fourth successive year.
East Lothian IBC is set to welcome a galaxy of top stars to the Alex Marshall Arena this coming Sunday with Glasgow 2014 gold medal heroes Alex Marshall MBE, Darren Burnett and Neil Speirs heading up a great Who’s Who of national indoor bowling giants. Other big-name players competing in the Pro-Am Triples event include Midlothian stars Colin Walker, Graeme Archer and Stacey McDougall, host club senior internationalists Billy Mellors, Derek Oliver, Jamie Higgins, Scott Kennedy, Dee Hoggan and Emma Logan along with garden county legend Willie Wood MBE. Medical Professional and Johnston Fuels are kindly sponsoring the popular tournament for a second consecutive year. The draw is as follows:-
10am A.Marshall MBE, R.Burnett, S.McDougall, Para Bowls 1, D.Burnett, J.Hogg, R.Thomson, Para Bowls 2, G.Archer, J.Fleming Jnr, M.Greenan, J.Fairnie 11am C.Walker, Medical & Professional, East Lothian BA, Johnston Fuels 2, N.Speirs, S.Airey, S.W.Thomson, K.Hoggan, D.Oliver, Johnston Fuels 1, AOB Roofing, J.P.Hamilton