World stage icon figure Alex Marshall MBE hopes of ending the 2017/18 World Bowls Tour season with a title triumph ended in disappointment after he suffered defeat at the semi-final stage in the Co-operative International Open at Blackpool Newton Hall IBC.Read More
Marshall’s opponent in last Friday’s semi-final was his fellow Scot and Head Coach for the upcoming Commonwealth Games, David Gourlay. The opening set was nail biting stuff before Gourlay edged it 7-6 but Marshall hit back and totally dominated the second set to win 13-4 and force the match into a tiebreak. Marshall won the first end but Gourlay claimed the second and the match went into a sudden death end. Gourlay drew in a close bowl with his opening delivery, despite his best efforts ‘Tattie’ (Marshall) could not beat it, and Gourlay emerged victorious and went on to win the title by defeating current World No.1 Greg Harlow in a closely contested final.
The men’s side from East Lothian IBC survived a tough test against old foes West Lothian at neutral venue Midlothian IBC in Dalkeith last Saturday to reach the quarterfinals stage of the indoor bowls Scottish Cup with a 7-3 point’s victory over their fellow premier league status opposition.
Wins on the rinks skipped by Alex Marshall MBE and Billy Mellors plus a battling peel for Scott Kennedy delivered the winning points for the garden county side and covered the points dropped by Joe Mower. The match aggregate score was a tight affair throughout a gripping encounter and at the end of 84 completed ends the points were shared with the master scoreboard flashing a final reading of 83-83. “We were being hard pressed to stay in the match early doors as West Lothian made a very strong start, but we worked our socks off to get in front for the first time just after halfway and managed to see it out for a great win”, reflected team captain Dougie Berwick.
World stage star Alex Marshall produced an inspirational delivery to wield a magical count of 5 the 15th end to skip Mark Yuill, David Sked and Dougie Berwick into a 16-12 lead over Tommy Mann then built on the four-shot cushion in the final seven ends to contribute a tremendous 25-17 victory. Billy Mellors did not deliver a runaway victory, but his final phase score of 11-2 was crucial as he skipped Lewis Betts, Andrew Jeffrey and Dean Riva to a 24-17 win over Mark Allison. Scott Kennedy and his rink of Ewan Fallen, Willie Wood MBE and Graham Robertson looked in trouble at 16-11 down against Calum Logan but produced a late fightback to grab a 19-19 draw. Joe Mower and his front three of Mark Johnston, Jamie Gordon and Jamie Higgins were involved in a terrific ding-dong battle with Neil Speirs from the opening end before eventually losing 17-15. Next up for East Lothian on Saturday March 24 is another premier league side in the shape of Falkirk at the neutral venue of Headwell IBC in Dunfermline.
Most eyes in the world of Scottish indoor bowling will be on Blantyre Indoor Bowling Club on Sunday with the rearranged Scottish Premier League play-off final between East Lothian and the host club down for decision from 12 noon. The garden county goes into the eagerly awaited showpiece occasion severely boosted by the news that world stage star Alex Marshall is available to play. He will take up his customary skipping role along with fellow internationalists Derek Oliver, Scott Kennedy and Billy Mellors. One enforced change to the original side named sees Andrew Jeffrey replace the unavailable Stewart Thomson. The line-up for the final reads:- E.Fallen, W.W.Wood MBE, G.Robertson, S.Kennedy skip M.Yuill, A.Jeffrey, D.Berwick capt, A.Marshall MBE skip M.Johnston, D.Riva, J.Mower, B.Mellors skip L.Betts, D.Sked, J.Higgins, D.Oliver skip ReservesK.Cunningham & L.Middler: The all-important head-to-head rink draws for the final reads as follows: –
Rink 3: Derek Oliver v Stewart Anderson
Rink 4: Billy Mellors v Jim McCann
Rink 5: Alex Marshall MBE v Brian Irvine
Rink 6: Scott Kennedy v Iain McLean
The club is running a coach to the final and a limited number of seats are still available for anyone who would like to go and support the side. Anyone interested should contact club secretary Scott Kennedy as soon as possible. All players, officials and supporters requested to report at Meadowmill stadium by no later than 9.30am.
On the international stage the talented East Lothian IBC trio of Emma Logan, Yvonne Veitch and Dee Hoggan were last weekend part of a Scotland Ladies senior side that had to settle for runners-up position as auld enemy England regained the British Isles Home International Championship title in impressive fashion. The series was staged at Paisley IBC and the host country opened the series against Ireland and dominated the match from start to finish registering a comfortable 138-96 victory. Next up was a clash against Wales and the Scots had to battle hard and only pulled away in the latter stages of the clash to record a 128-90 triumph. With England easing to victories in the opening two matches it set-up a mouth-watering winner takes all clash with Scotland on Sunday afternoon. However, the expected tense and close encounter never materialised as England dominated proceedings from start to finish and ran out convincing 115-99 winners to retain the Clara Johns Trophy. Emma Logan enjoyed a great series, as she was part of the rink skipped by Claire Johnston that boasted a 100% record in the series. Dee Hoggan played in a rink that recorded two good wins against Ireland and Wales but suffered defeat against England. Yvonne Veitch was involved in a strong looking Scottish rink skipped by world stage star Julie Forrest that surprisingly endured a miserable series losing all three matches.
This weekend (Thursday to Saturday), it’s the turn of the Scotland men with the garden county contingent of Alex Marshall MBE, Scott Kennedy, Billy Mellors, Derek Oliver and Jamie Higgins making the short trip along the M8 to Paisley IBC to join their colleagues in an ultra-talented Scotland gents team. It will be extra special occasions for both Marshall and Mellors as both have pivotal roles to play for their country. Marshall takes on the first ever player/manager role for the side while Mellors has the honour of being team captain for the series and will earn his 50th international cap.
After an extended break due to the recent adverse weather the ladies side finally return to competitive action on Saturday as the Ladies Scottish Cup swings into first round action with the elite of East Lothian IBC making the short trip to Bainfield IBC in Edinburgh to tackle Falkirk. Team manager Gordon Pryde line-up is boosted by the return to action of icon figure Yvonne Veitch and she takes up her customary skipping role along with team captain Lauren Baillie, Emma Logan and Janet Fairnie in a slightly recast line-up that reads: – M.Murray, K.Hoggan, M.Kivlin, E.Logan skip M.Devine, B.Riva, D.Hoggan, Y.Veitch skip M.Penman, J.Russell, M.Thomson, J.Fairnie skip J.McFarlane, A.Berwick, Le.Baillie, La.Baillie skip/capt
East Lothian IBC hopes of landing a first ever title success in the Scottish Under 35 Cup is on the back burner for another year after the current crop of players lost out narrowly on points to Falkirk/Stirling in last Sunday’s second round of qualifying action at East Fife IBC in Methil.
The youth side from East Lothian IBC cashed in on a lightning start to storm to a thundering 9-0 point’s victory over Dunfermline challengers Abbeyview in their quarterfinal clash of the SYIBA Top Ten last Saturday morning. A tough game was expected but it never materialised as the defending champions held all the aces in the singles, pairs, triple and fours. “Well done to all the youngsters it was brilliant performances from every single player involved”, said a delighted team convenor Peter Fallen. The tournament finals day is being staged at Glasgow IBC on Sunday March 25 and the recent semi-final draw paired East Lothian with Highland challengers Turriff while the other tie features Alloa/Stirling against Auchinleck.
Its huge congratulations to the East Lothian IBC duo of Melissa Penman and Robbie Shields on winning the East of Scotland Youth Pairs title at Stirling IBC last Sunday. The winning pair produced tiptop performances to beat Bainfield in the semi-final and then local rivals Midlothian in the final.
Haddington Bowling Club members Calum Darling, Chris Brock, Stewart Thomson and Glenn Blair have been realising a dream opportunity by participating in the prestigious Tiger Bowls World Invitation Fours tournament in Hong Kong. When the dust settled in the qualifying play Blair and Co finished in a respectable 8th place out of 64 teams to qualify for the consolation plate but the lost out in the semi-final. “We have loved every minute of it with the Hong Kong greens running at a very good pace for outdoor”, commented Blair. After Hong Kong, they moved onto Shenzhen in China to compete in the China Open.
Turning attention to the fast-approaching outdoor season and members of Gifford Bowling & Sports Club should note that their AGM scheduled for this Sunday has been postponed and rescheduled for Tuesday March 27 at 7pm.
All outdoor club secretaries are reminded the AGM of the East Lothian Bowling Association takes places at Haddington BC on Wednesday March 21 from 7pm. Two representatives from each affiliated club are formally requested to attend the meeting.