East Lothian IBC men’s side had their realistic dreams of making it to the Scottish Premier League playoff final crushed by a cruel 18 shot away defeat from West Lothian as the B section nears it completion.Read More
West Lothian – who are formidable opposition on their home carpet – led from start to finish and won convincingly on two of the four rinks to celebrate a massive 85-67 victory that now makes them odds on favourites to finish top of the section. Going into the final round of fixtures West Lothian top the table with 14 points with East Lothian demoted to second place and now two points off the pace. West Lothian faces an away test at foot of the table Paisley in their final fixture while East Lothian entertains Elgin. Good wins on the rinks skipped by Alex Marshall MBE and Derek Oliver failed to save the day for an East Lothian side that suffered heavier setbacks on the rinks skipped by Billy Mellors and Graham Robertson.
“The result is a massive disappointment for us as we are now looking for a favour from Paisley but on current text book form that looks a very unlikely prospect”, reflected team captain Dougie Berwick. “However, at the end of the day there is still a glimmer of hope for us, so we must make sure we remain focused in our final match against Elgin then hope and pray for good news from Paisley”, added Berwick.
It was a major blow to the East Lothian cause that the rink of Ewan Fallen, Kevin Cunningham, Willie Wood MBE and Graham Robertson suffered a damaging 16 shot defeat (24-8) from Craig Moss. After a shaky start Mellors and his rink of Lessel Middler, Dean Riva and Scott Kennedy were making good headway in their clash with Neil Speirs but a nightmare final phase caused them to slip to a 24-14 defeat. Marshall carded a super count of 7 on the penultimate end of his encounter with Mark Allison and went on to skip Mark Yuill, Dougie Berwick and Stuart Thomson to a 27-20 success. Oliver and his front three of Lewis Betts, David Sked and Jamie Higgins battled to an 18-16 triumph over Calum Logan. The side welcome back two top stars in the shape of Joe Mower and Mark Johnston as the reigning champions round off their section play in the B section on Saturday with home carpet advantage over Elgin. With four top-class skips in the shape of Alex Marshall MBE, Derek Oliver, Billy Mellors and Graham Robertson there are strong expectations of the home support cheering a ‘garden county’ victory. Kevin Cunningham and Lessel Middler are the players sidelined in a strongly formed team that reads; M.Yuill, D.Berwick capt, S.W.Thomson, A.Marshall skip M.Johnston, D.Riva, S.Kennedy, B.Mellors skip E.Fallen, W.W.Wood MBE, J.Mower, G.Robertson skip L.Betts, D.Sked, J.Higgins, D.Oliver skip
It might have been despair for the men last Saturday evening, but it was sheer jubilation for the ladies side from East Lothian IBC when the shock news filtered through from Methil that East Fife had defeated Midlothian, handing the East Premier Division title honours to East Lothian. Pulse rates will be running high as they must now prepare for a playoff semi-final against Auchinleck on Saturday with the clash being staged at the neutral venue of Lanarkshire IBC in Wishaw. Team manager Gordon Pryde is missing the valuable services of young star Megan Kivlin and stalwart figure Yvonne Veitch but is in the happy position of introducing former Scotland Junior cap Leanne Baillie into the picture and gives the Cockenzie & Port Seton outdoor star her seasonal debut. “I am pitching Leanne in at the deep end by selecting her at third, but she has the skill, nerve and experience to produce a strong performance”. Leanne’s elder sister Lauren captains a slightly recast line-up that reads:- M.Murray, J.Russell, K.Hoggan, E.Logan skip M.Devine, B.Riva, G.Mackintosh, D.Hoggan skip M.Penman, M.Hamilton, M.Thomson, J.Fairnie skip J.McFarlane, A.Berwick, Le.Baillie, La.Baillie skip/capt
Mark Johnston was on international duty last weekend in the British Isles Over 50 International Championships played at the Lakeside Resort in Hayling Island. The eight-man Scotland team were in great form all weekend. They opened with a 30-25 win against Ireland then followed it up with a 33-26 win against Wales before beating England 46-29 to claim a maximum six points to win the title for a record extending seventh time since the tournament began in 1999. Scotland also won it in 1999 when Johnston’s legendary clubmate Willie Wood featured in the team. The final table read: Scotland 6 points (+29); Ireland 4 points (+2); Wales 1 point (-11) and England 1 point (-20).
The senior side are in Scottish Senior Cup action on Wednesday (February 7) and face a potentially tough looking challenge when they make the short trip to Edinburgh venue Bainfield to take on Headwell in the first round proper. Meanwhile, the qualifying action in the Jock Brodie Senior Challenge Cup, now jointly sponsored by Norman T Craig and Plumbing and Electrical Services of Dunbar, continued at the Alex Marshall Arena last Wednesday and host club East Lothian opened their account in the tournament with a 6-2 point’s success over Teviotdale. The other match was between West Lothian and Abbeyview and resulted in a 5-3 triumph for West Lothian. There is no action at the Alex Marshall Arena this coming Wednesday due to the Scottish Senior Cup preliminary round action being staged around the country. East Lothian has received a bye but will host a tie at the Alex Marshall Arena involving Midlothian and Tweedbank.
East Lothian IBC dream of enjoyed an extended run in the Scottish Mixed Team Championship event has been dashed by an 6-2-point defeat from Falkirk in their first-round proper clash at Bathgate venue Balbardie IBC last Sunday.
The youth side faced a potentially tough home battle against local rivals Midlothian in the first round of the Scottish Top 10 last Saturday morning but an on-song performance saw the young stars from the Alex Marshall Arena call the tune with a fine 6-2 points win. East Lothian now faces Lanarkshire in the quarterfinal on a date still to confirmed. On Sunday Lewis Betts, Aaron Betts, Robbie Shields, Beth Riva and Danny Stevenson all participate in the SIBA Under 18 international trial match being staged at Paisley IBC.
East Lothian IBC is set to welcome a galaxy of top stars to the Alex Marshall Arena on Sunday February 11 with Glasgow 2014 gold medal heroes Alex Marshall MBE, Darren Burnett, Davie Peacock and Neil Speirs heading up a great Who’s Who of national indoor bowling giants. Other big name players competing in the Pro-Am Triples event include Midlothian stars Ronnie Duncan and Colin Walker, host club senior internationalists Billy Mellors, Derek Oliver, Jamie Higgins, Scott Kennedy, Dee Hoggan and Emma Logan along with garden county legend Willie Wood MBE. Medical Professional and Johnston Fuels are kindly sponsoring the tournament for a second consecutive year.