Budding East Lothian IBC starlets Megan Kivlin and Lewis Betts have added to last season’s national title triumph in the Under 17 Pairs by capturing the East of Scotland crown in the Championships played at Stirling.
Sparkling performances in their group play saw the East Lothian duo dominate all three games to beat Bainfield, East Fife, and Midlothian then the ‘garden county’ challenged blossomed with wins over Stirling in the semi finals and Midlothian – again- in the final. Betts – who plays his outdoor bowls at top Edinburgh club Craigentinny – skipped his lead to a commanding 9-3 win over Stirling then the partnership showed strong nerve and focus to edge Midlothian 10-7 in what was a battle royal for the title.
East Lothian also fielded two sets of Triples at the championships but the respective trios of Kieran Dodds, Dean Riva, Craig Mackintosh and Robbie Shields, Robbie Buchanan, David Young missed out making it through to the knockout stage.
The high level sense of amazement enveloping Midlothian IBC this week is matched by total disbelief that the national selection system has failed in their gents international trial team to find a place for a Dalkeith stadium player in the line up of 32. It has to be pointed out that top stars Ronnie Duncan and Colin Walker are counted out of the Home International picture at Llanelli come March due to outdoor Bowls Scotland representation in New Zealand. But given that Midlothian’s present record in the premier league is five wins out of five and last seasons unlucky campaign did produce home and away wins over then three-in-a-row defending champions West Lothian the feeling of injustice is strong. “You could have knocked me down with a feather when I read the trial team announcement” was the reaction of one man-mountain figure at the Dalkeith stadium.
Edinburgh has managed to produce one eye-catching player with Colin Hutchison representing the Bainfield banner but that means that the capital city’s icon figure Robert Marshall is again denied the opportunity of reaching the magic figure of 50 caps having been sitting on the 48 mark since the 2008 campaign.
West Lothian provide an impressive seven players in the shape of Thomas Mann, Calum Logan, Bryan Cooper, Mark Allison, James Speirs, Cameron Greer, and ex Bainfield star Craig Moss. Neil Speirs is pre-selected and joined on that list by Stewart Anderson and Iain McLean (Blantyre), Darren Burnett (Arbroath), Paul Foster MBE (Prestwick), Mike Stepney (Elgin), Derek Oliver and Alex Marshall MBE (East Lothian).
East Lothian have five players named in the trial with Scotland’s most capped duo Willie Wood MBE, and Graham Robertson joined by colleagues Scott Kennedy, Jamie Higgins, and Billy Mellors. The full line up for the trial at Stirling IBC on Sunday 6th December is, Rink 1. Jamie Higgins, Stuart Wylie (Ayr), Calum Logan, Scott Kennedy versus Paul Boyd (Prestwick), James Speirs, Graham Robertson, and Colin Hutchison. Rink 2. Gary Hutchison (Falkirk), Brian Russell (Headwell), Martin Wiliamson (Ardrossan), and Billy Mellors v Jason Banks (Garioch, Cameron Greer, Steven Allan (Falkirk), Willie Wood MBE. Rink 3. Bryan Cooper, Derek Smith (Auchinleck), Callum Taggart (Paisley), Mark Allison v Brian Irvine (Blantyre), Connor Milne (Turriff), Scott Bishop (Blantyre), and Jonathan Ross (Paisley). Rink 4. Martin McCalley (Falkirk), Craig Moss, Graeme Sloan (Paisley), Thomas Mann v Martyn Jenkins (Coatbridge), Paul Brown (Abbeyview), Andrew Barker (Elgin) and Robert Grant (Lanarkshire).