East Lothian have suffered a blow to their chances of making it through to the knockout stages of the Scottish Counties Championship for the Andrew Hamilton Trophy after losing away 126-115 to arch rivals Midlothian at Gorebridge BC last Saturday.
“Losing this fixture is disappointing and a setback to our hopes of reaching the quarter-finals however if we can dust ourselves down and win our remaining fixture we can still qualify”, said team manager Ian Bell. The combined defeat of the rinks skipped by Alister Kennedy (-16), Ian Bell (-6) and John McCrorie (-5) proved too much to be covered by the wins delivered by Scott Kennedy (+8), Billy Mellors (+4) and Stephen Cochrane (+4). Going into tomorrow’s (Saturday) final round of fixtures in the highly competitive East section remarkably no fewer than six teams remain in contention to grab the two qualifying spots. East Lothian know any kind of win or at very worst a draw will see them progress to the knockout stages but they face a tough looking home fixture against last season’s beaten finalists West Lothian who kept themselves in the hunt with a fine win at leaders Edinburgh & Leith last Saturday. The current East section standings are as follows:-
The team news from the East Lothian camp ahead of tomorrow’s eagerly awaited encounter at Haddington BC is that regulars Derek Oliver, skipper Craig Valentine (both Cockenzie & Port Seton), Craig Bell and Glenn Blair (both Haddington) and Chris Johnston (Gifford) all make welcome returns while the magnitude of the task in hand has influenced team manager Bell to keep West Barns ace Alister Kennedy in his line-up and in a slight reshuffle makes a few positional changes that involves Brian Young, Craig McLeod and Stephen Cochrane. Tommy Young, Billy Cormack and Ross Marwick are the players who drop to the reserve bench. The team reads:- S.White (ELCO), D.Whitson (Tra), C.Bell (Hadd), C.Valentine (C&PS) skip/capt R.Thomson (ELCO), J.Gordon (C&PS), A.Kennedy (W/B), B.Mellors (W/B) skip C.Johnston (Giff), G.Baillie (C&PS), S.Cochrane (ELCO), D.Oliver (C&PS) skip M.McCormack (Win), M.Osborne (Tra), G.Blair (Hadd), S.Kennedy (W/B) skip G.White (Abe), B.Dunleavey (Abe), S.Greenan (P/G), J.McCrorie (Tra) skip J.Gearty (C&PS), C.McLeod (Giff), B.Young (Tra), I.Bell (Hadd) skip Reserves: A.Martin (Ath), T.Young (Dun), B.Cormack (W/B), R.Marwick (P/G)
The junior brigade of East Lothian bowlers were in rampant form at Cockenzie & Port Seton BC last Sunday with local rivals Midlothian their victims as the garden county ‘young yins’ romped to a sensational 36 shot victory in the East section of the Scottish Under 25 League Cup. The victory was good enough for them to book their place in next Sunday’s (June 28) finals day after chief rivals Edinburgh & Leith suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Borders in their final qualifying match. The finals are being staged at Sighthill BC in Edinburgh with South section winners Ayrshire providing the opposition in the semi-final.
The overall contribution to the final 133-97 match score reflects a strong team performance with only a setback for Steven White (-9) a small blot in the copybook but excellent wins for the rinks skipped by Kieran Frame (+17), Glenn Blair (+12), Gordon White (+8), James Burnett (+8) easily carried the day while Craig Bell drew. “I am delighted that the team achieved such a convincing win over very good opposition and the message I get from this side is that they have the appetite and ability to win the title”, said a delighted team manager Stevie Greenan.
West Barns ace Billy Mellors produced a headline performance in Monday night’s Bowls Scotland East Lothian District finals at Prestongrange BC and is heading to Ayr Northfield in the Singles with the scalp of East Linton veteran George Cowan tucked in his belt. The final was a very one sided affair with Scotland ace Mellors putting on a strong performance to win 21-2 in 14 ends. EL-Coop star Ross Thomson booked his passage to Ayr in Junior Singles at the 21-14 expense of Brian Forbes jnr, taking 22 ends to beat his EL-Coop teammate. For the second consecutive year Tranent captured the limelight in the Pairs this time the father-in-law and son-in-law combination of Jim Bonner and Brian ‘Sconie’ Young producing a cracking performance that was reflected by a handsome 23-15 victory over Gifford top notches Brian Galloway and Gary Darling. EL-Coop captured the honours in the Triples final but an epic encounter against Dunbar went to the last end decider before Craig Cochrane, Duncan Hogg and Gordon Pryde raised the victory salute with a 12-10 win over Bobby Brunton, John Shields and Steven Anderson. The major drama of the finals was produced by the West Barns rink of Kevin Thomson, Chris O’Brien, Gary Landells and Alister ‘Bongo’ Kennedy who scored a last end victory over Kevin Deans, Steven Kerr, Alan Clydesdale and Richard Black of East Linton. It was a heart-breaking defeat for East Linton as they had been the pacesetters throughout the encounter with leads of 5-0 and 12-9 before Kennedy and Co produced a purple patch run of 1, 1, 2 before clinching a match winning single on the final end. Cockenzie & Port Seton prevailed in the Senior Fours with Alex Jamieson skipping Willie Doran, Sinclair Thomson and Kenny Morgan to a convincing 17-9 victory over East Linton Sandy Plenderleith of Gifford captured the Senior Singles after edging a cracking encounter against Tommy Thomson of Cockenzie & Port Seton, 21-19.
Tranent were the main movers in last Friday night’s Division 1 action in the East Coast Carpets sponsored East Lothian Leagues as they landed a 8-0 blow on Gifford while leaders Haddington were delighted to escape with a dramatic 4-4 draw against Cockenzie & Port Seton. Both clubs now share joint top spot on the 48 point mark although Haddington’s far healthier shot margin bank still makes them overall table toppers. EL-Coop lead the chasing pack as they moved into third place with a colossal 8-0 home win over Castlepark A while foot of the table Dunbar continue to find life tough in the top flight but did put up fight in their 6-2 home defeat to West Barns. Castlepark celebrated a cracking 8-0 home win over East Linton rivals who are now just one point clear of the dreaded relegation zone.
In tonight’s (Friday) Division 1 action both the co-leaders face away fixtures as Haddington face a struggling East Linton side while Tranent make the journey up the A1 to tackle Dunbar. Elsewhere EL-Coop visit Castlepark; Gifford entertain Cockenzie & Port Seton and West Barns host Castlepark A.
Just a reminder that 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.
Four clubs will battle it out on Sunday to capture the second bit of silverware of the domestic season as the ELBA County Cup finals day takes centre stage at EL-Coop BC in Tranent. The semi-final action gets underway at 12 noon and features Tranent against Prestongrange while the other clash involves host club EL-Coop against Haddington.
Draw for West Barns Senior Open Pairs (3 Bowl) being held on Tuesday (June 23) is as follows:- 9.30am S.Galloway, A.Young, I.McDonald, A.Currie, C.Kennedy, V.Renwick, B.Brunton, Dirleton 1, A.Brown, J.Dugay, M.McLeod, Dirleton 2, P.Lorimer, Dirleton 3, J.Currie, Late Entry 10.30am J.P.Hamilton, B.Watson, M.Hamilton, B.Marshall, I.Knox, W.Smith, D.Hogg, K.Boyd, B.Mitchell, W.Reid, T.Bennet, W.Higgenbottom, P.Fallen, T.Kerr, C.Binnie, P.Johnstone Anyone wishing to claim the late entry available should contact tournament organiser John P Hamilton on 07974 648401.