The Lothian challenge in the finals of the Scottish indoor bowls Championships played at Lanarkshire IBC experienced more lows than highs with negative outcomes for East Lothian in the gents Triples, Balbardie in the ladies Triples, and West Lothian in the gents Pairs
Defeat for East Lothian in the Triples was a real coupon buster with the demise of their high profile trio at the hands of Cumbernauld in the semi finals representing a major shock – and the first of two setbacks suffered by national singles champion Billy Mellors. Mellors as reported in yesterdays News would go on to lose the Fours final in dramatic circumstances to West Lothian making his memory of these national finals a miserable one. The semi final of the Triples pitched Andrew Jeffrey, Mellors, and Derek Oliver – all top flight players and winners of national titles in the past – against the Cumbernauld Division 2 trio of Andy Greenwood, John Cowie, and Jim Byron.
Progress into the final was expected, and justified on individual and collective form lines, but the script wasn’t to the liking of Byron and Co who rewrote it in such fine style that East Lothian were reduced to playing a bit part. he first clue to a shock outcome in the making came as early as the opening end with Byron and Co carding a mighty 5 that rocked East Lothian back on their heels and Oliver and Co were destined never to operate on the front-foot. Counts of 4 at ends six and eight helped Cumbernauld establish a commanding 15-5 lead after nine ends and Byron in particular serving up some exciting play the trio marched into the final with a 23-14 win.
It was an anti-climax for Cumbernauld that despite putting up a bold show they slipped from 11-8 up to be piped 20-19 by a last end single from Elgin trio Andrew Barker, Graeme Donaldson, and Mike Stepney in the final. The Balbardie versus Blantyre semi final in the ladies Triples featured three Commonwealth Games internationalists in the shape of Lorraine Malloy skipping Kim Ross and Sharon Leitch for the Bathgate club against Caroline Brown, and Margaret Letham who had Claire Walker at lead. Blantyre made a strong start to blitz Malloy and Co 11-2 over the first five ends and Balbardie trailed all the way in a 24-11 defeat then Brown and Co upheld the form with a commanding 19-9 win over Jane Brooksby, Maureen Leishman, and Vicki Leishman of Falkirk in the final.West Lothian faced a tough call in their semi final of the gents Pairs with Richard Mark and Mark Allison mixing it with Craig Lindsay and four times world singles champion Paul Foster MBE of Prestwick t looked all over bar the shouting when Prestwick forged into a 17-9 lead after 16-ends however West Lothian created great waves of excitement as they captured all of the remaining five ends but their run of 1, 3, 1, 1, 1 didn’t prevent a 17-16 defeat. The final saw Prestwick deadlocked at 12-12 with Arbroath after 10-ends but a six end run to 19 tipped the scales in favour of Ryan and Darren Burnett and the brothers went on to clinch a 22-18 victory. East Fife edged a 21-10 thriller over Paisley in the final of the ladies Pairs while Auchinleck finished 2, 1, 2 to beat Galleon, 18-16, in the ladies Fours. The final of the Under 21 Singles resulted in a 21-9 win for Kevin McDonald of Elgin over Alastair McKinney of Glasgow.