Six times national champions East Lothian hit the campaign trail in the highly competitive East section for the Andrew Hamilton Trophy on Saturday with a tough opening challenge against arch rivals Edinburgh & Leith at Currie Bowling Club.Read More
Expectations of a successful season are high but some tough questions are expected to be asked as the ‘townies’ are expected to be one of the sides in the frame to mount a serious challenge for the section qualifying honours.
Newly appointed team manager Stewart Johnston of Ormiston has major issues to deal with ahead of the garden county’s opening game. Scotland cap Derek Oliver of Cockenzie & Port Seton has intimated that he is unavailable for the campaign ahead due to family commitments while regulars from last season’s side Stephen Cochrane (EL-Coop) and former team player/manager Ian Bell (Haddington) and Johnston himself are also notable absentees. On a positive note it is great news for Johnston that world stage icon figure Alex ‘Tattie’ Marshall of Gifford has declared himself available for the majority of the campaign while former Scotland cap Alister ‘Bongo’ Kennedy of Haddington has also committed his invaluable services for the season and both him and Marshall will form a formidable looking back end combination. Along with Marshall, Billy Mellors (Haddington), Brian Young (Tranent), Scott Kennedy (Cockenzie & Port Seton), John McCrorie (Tranent) and Craig Valentine (Cockenzie & Port Seton) will form the backbone of the side while new faces in the opening game line-up include Joe Mower and Stewart Thomson (both Haddington) along with Gifford’s Dougie Berwick. Scott Kennedy of Cockenzie & Port Seton is named team captain of a side that reads: – R.Thomson (ELCO), D.Berwick (Giff), J.Mower (Hadd), B.Mellors (Hadd) skip C.Johnston (Orm), M.McCormack (Win), G.Blair (Hadd), S.Kennedy (C&PS) skip G.White (Aber), J.Gordon (C&PS), S.Greenan (PG), J.McCrorie (Tra) skip M.Osborne (Tra), B.Cormack (Mac), B.Dunleavey (Aber), B.Young (Tra) skip S.Thomson (Hadd), C.McLeod (Win), A.Kennedy (Hadd), A.Marshall MBE (Giff) skip S.White (ELCO, G.Baillie (C&PS), T.Young (Dun), C.Valentine (C&PS) skip
Any player selected who is unable to play is requested to contact team manager Stewart Johnston immediately on 07939 700720. All players are to report at Currie BC by no later than 1.15pm and the team manager has requested that players travel share and anyone taking a car will be reimbursed petrol expenses. In addition, any player requiring a team polo shirt or jacket should contact the team manager as soon as possible.
The Under 25 side, again under the guidance of Stevie and Michael Greenan, start their 2015 campaign on Sunday and the opening challenge for the garden county young brigade is a difficult one in the shape of local rivals Midlothian at Loanhead Bowling Club. The selection process for the opening game was made harder with the news that key players Ewan Fallen (EL-Coop) and Ross Irvine (Prestongrange) are unavailable for selection. Glenn Blair of Haddington will wear the captain’s armband for a second successive year. The team for the opening game reads: –
L.Gallagher (W/B), L.Newlands (Ath), Dec French (Elph), G.White (Aber) skip D.Riva (Giff), K.Yule (P/G), R.Thomson (ELCO), J.Mower (Hadd) skip S.Robertson (C/P), D.Young (ELCO), M.McWilliams (Hadd), S.Gray (C/P) skip C.Brock (Hadd), Dean French (Elph), C.Darling (Giff), K.Frame (C/P) skip F.Pringle (C/P), S.Johnston (Orm), C.Bell (Hadd), S.White (ELCO) skip S.Clark (P/G), R.French (Elph), R.Cochrane (P/G), G.Blair (Hadd) skip/capt
Reserves: – J.Burnett (C/P), J.Ferguson (Long), S.Newlands (Ath), H.Robertson (C/P)
Any player selected who is unable to play is requested to contact team manager Stevie Greenan immediately on 07712 277681. All players are requested to report at Loanhead BC by no later than 1.15pm. Any player unsure of travel arrangements is also asked to contact him immediately. Meanwhile the side has received much needed financial support after securing season long sponsorship deals with Flowers by Arrangements, Falcon HD, Edmunson Electrical Loanhead and Seton Private Hire.
Tranent Bowling Club are the reigning Top Ten champions of East Lothian and they carry the county banner into the national preliminary round action on Sunday when they have home advantage over Aberdeen & Kincardine champions Inverurie. Tranent reached the quarterfinals of the event back in 2010 and aspirations are high that this current team can have another good run in the showpiece event. The full team reads: – John McCrorie (Singles); Jim Bonner and Brian Young (Pairs); Alex Cormack, Davie Whitson and Jamie Higgins (Triples) and Kevin Cunningham, Davie Sands, Kevin Jones and Matt Osborne (Fours). The action gets underway at 2pm and it is hoped a large local support will descend on Polson Park to support Tranent. It is expected that a minutes silence will be observed prior to the start of the game as mark of respect to Tranent member Simon Blyth who sadly passed away on Monday following a short battle with cancer.
The champagne corks were popping at Haddington Bowling Club last Saturday evening after they claimed the first silverware of the domestic season when they lifted the ELBA Trophy after a convincing win over Cockenzie & Port Seton in the final played at EL-Coop BC in Tranent. In the semi-final action Haddington seen off the spirited challenge of Dunbar at EL-Coop while Cockenzie & Port Seton were made to fight all the way before seeing off the challenge of Prestongrange at Polson Park.
Champions Tranent suffered their first major blip in their defence of the title when they suffered a 6-2 home defeat to Cockenzie & Port Seton in round three of matches played in Division 1 of the East Coast Carpets sponsored East Lothian Leagues. Title favourites Haddington are the new early season table toppers after they celebrated a 6-2 success at Castlepark and moved a point clear of EL-Coop who suffered a 6-2 setback at West Barns. Elphinstone registered their first win of the campaign with a confidence boosting 6-2 home win over Gifford while East Linton were also celebrating their first positive result of the season when they inflicted 8-0 misery on Prestongrange at home.
In tomorrow (Friday) night’s Division 1 action, leaders Haddington have valuable home green advantage over East Linton and will be strong favourites to overcome their lowly placed opponents. EL-Coop face a touch home assignment against Castlepark while Tranent make the short trip to foot of the table Elphinstone. Cockenzie & Port Seton will look to build on last week’s excellent result at Tranent when they play host to West Barns while Gifford welcome back influential figure Alex Marshall MBE back into their line-up ahead of their home clash with Prestongrange.
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.
You can now keep up-to-date with all that is happening on the outdoor bowling scene in the garden county by following the website by East Lothian Bowling Association. All bowlers are urged to view by clicking on www.eastlothianbowls.com
Tributes are pouring in for Tranent bowler Simon Blyth who has died aged 42 after a short battle with cancer. Simon, who was married, was a former member of East Lothian Labour Club, where he played with his father Gordon, and had been at Tranent Bowling Club for a couple of years. Family and friends are comforting Simon’s widow Lynette and his young son Rhys.