It is not that long ago that the men’s side from East Lothian IBC dominated the Scottish Premier League scene with four consecutive wins in 2006/7/8/9 but a lean spell since looks set to continue following last Saturday’s defeat from Falkirk.
Falkirk emerged clear cut winners celebrating a 28 shot triumph (89-61) that pushed them well clear of the chasing pack having won six of their seven games while East Lothian’s third defeat left them four points adrift of the leaders with only three rounds of fixture left to play. “We travelled knowing a win would put us top of the league on shot margin and we did have a self-belief we could do it but on the day we were beaten by the better team”, reflected team captain Scott Kennedy. “Our focus is now to try and win all our remaining games then hope Falkirk slip-up a couple of times and that is well within the realms of possibility as their remaining games are all away from home”, added Kennedy.
Kennedy and fellow skips Derek Oliver and Jamie Higgins all lost while Billy Mellors emerged from a hard fought battle with a peel. The first phase of the match flashed a warning signal to East Lothian with the visitors showing 38-23 adrift on the master scoreboard after the opening ten-ends and their situation became more dire as the home team dominated the second phase, 32-14. East Lothian enjoyed their best spell on the third and final phase to win it 24-19 but it was a case of too little too late for the garden county. Higgins (Jamie) and his rink of Malcolm Higgenbotham, Jamie Gordon and Stewart Thomson suffered extremely lean times in a crushing 27-7 defeat that saw them count at only five of the 21-ends against Steven Allan. Kennedy (Scott) and his front three of Mark Johnston, Glenn Blair and Gary Darling recovered from a terrible start and got back into contention at 14-17 after 18 ends and caused another stir with another three at end 19 to peel at 17-17 but slipped to a 22-17 defeat from former garden county star Steven Glen. Oliver (Derek) and his rink of Ewan Fallen, Andy Burt and Graham Robertson lost 20-17 to Gary Flynn while Mellors (Billy) carried the fight into the home camp to skip Joe Mower, Andy Jeffrey and Willie Wood MBE into a 15-12 lead after 15-ends but finally settled for a 20-20 peel with John McHutchison. The side now enjoy a break over the festive period and recommence again on Saturday January 9 with a home fixture against Aberdeen.
There will be festive cheer for the ladies side after they turned in another strong performance on home terrority at the Alex Marshall Arena to score a resounding 33 shot victory (94-61) over Tweedbank in Division 1C of the Scottish Ladies League. It’s a result that keeps East Lothian two points clear of nearest challengers Balbardie however a much superior shot margin bank of 237 compared to the 5 of their rivals puts them in an extremely healthy position going into the festive break. “It was another excellent overall team performance from us and we remain firmly in the driving seat with just two games to go but we must remain focused as Balbardie are still a major threat to us”, said team manager Sheena Currie.
The all-conquering senior side extended their unbeaten run to eight games in the East B section of the Scottish Senior League with their latest success being a comfortable 67-41 home win over Midlothian last Wednesday. The home side recorded wins on all four rinks with Tom Young (+13), Willie Wood MBE (+5), Peter Laidlaw (+4) and Alastair Russell (+4) all having the measure of their respective opposition. The latest win now means the garden county ‘auld yins’ are top of the table by a sizeable five points and an expected win at Tweedbank on Wednesday would see them crowned section winners and a place in the national knockout stage secured.
On the international stage the East Lothian contingent of Alex Marshall MBE, Derek Oliver, Willie Wood MBE, Scott Kennedy, Billy Mellors and Jamie Higgins have all been named in the final 24 man line-up that will represent Scotland in the upcoming British Isles Home International series being staged at Llanelli IBC in Wales come March. Unfortunately four time former team captain Graham Robertson is denied the opportunity of reaching the magical figure of 90 caps having missed out on selection for the first time since 1987. It’s also congratulations to Emma Logan and Dee Hoggan after both were named in the Scottish Ladies side just announced by the SIBA. 25 year old Logan will participate in her sixth consecutive series while Hoggan will win her first senior cap at the Ladies British Isles Home International series also being staged at Llanelli IBC in March. Meanwhile Emma Logan has been in action this week at the World Indoor Bowls Council World Under 25 Championships being staged at Coatbridge IBC.
The national indoor bowls calendar this weekend is devoted to the playdown action of the gents and ladies national triples. The local representation in the gent’s action is still to be decided with Chris Johnston, Ewan Fallen and Jamie Higgins scheduled to tackle Andy Jeffrey, Scott Kennedy and Billy Mellors in the final of the domestic play-off last night (Thursday). The eventual winning trio will head to Lanarkshire IBC in Wishaw tomorrow (Saturday) and will face a preliminary round clash against Fintry on the 9.30am session. In the ladies event 2014 national champions Emma Logan (nee Brown), Margaret Thomson and Yvonne Veitch will carry the local hopes again at Blantyre IBC and they will tackle Headwell in the prelim round also at 9.30am. The national playdown action is also being staged at the Alex Marshall Arena both Saturday and Sunday from 9.30am to 6pm. Unfortunately this means club officials have had to cancel the Hat Game scheduled for tomorrow (Saturday) at 12 noon.
The East Lothian youth section contingent of Dean Riva, Megan Kivlin, Craig Mackintosh and Lewis Betts recently received the exciting news that they have all been selected for the Scotland Under 17 side that will play a number of international test matches early in the New Year.
During the month of December memberships for East Lothian IBC are available at a cost of £45 for the remainder of the season for anyone interested in joining.
Finally officials at East Lothian IBC are calling on former members to return any locker keys they may have in their possession.