After a thirteen year wait the Scottish Fours trophy is finally nestling proudly again in the trophy cabinet at East Lothian Indoor Bowling Club after the super strong international quartet of Jamie Higgins, Joe Mower, Scott Kennedy and Derek Oliver paraded their skills in splendid fashion to capture the title at the joint national finals showcase at Coatbridge IBC last weekend.Read More
Wins over Coatbridge and Galleon were achieved in admirable fashion with the domestic champions of the garden county in tiptop form to snuff out the challenge of tough opposition. Opposition in Saturday morning’s semi-final came in the shape of the home-based rink of Alan Paterson, Martyn Jenkins, Jim Priunty and Robert Murphy but the contest was very much a one-sided affair with Oliver and Co dominating proceedings from the opening end and running out convincing 23-10 winners. The final against the Galleon rink of Kevin Craig, Craig Wilson, Drew Boyd and John McCabe Jnr proved to be a tough test of focus and mental concentration with the garden county four mostly operating on the back foot to face the prospect of defeat at 10-9 down. But Commonwealth Games bound Oliver showed exactly why he is heading to the dizzy heights of the Gold Coast on the 13th end when he produced a bit of magic in the shape of a pin-point accurate two bowl take out that wielded a count of 3. Then a magical four on the next end moved the garden county champions 16-10 ahead. Galleon to their credit responded valiantly by winning the next three ends to level proceedings at 16-16 but Oliver and Co stopped the rot with a single on end 18 then the title came very much into sharp focus on the next end when they scored a treble to hold a 20-16 advantage with two ends remaining. The loss of a double brought the garden county under slight pressure entering the last end, but they managed to control the head and triggered the victory salute and celebrations with a single to win 21-18.
“Absolutely over the moon to land another national title especially as the Galleon boys played brilliantly in the final and we had to dig very deep to eventually get over the line. Extra bonus is we can now look forward to having a crack at the British Isles title next year”, beamed Scott Kennedy afterwards.
Most eyes in the world of Scottish indoor bowling will be on Blantyre Indoor Bowling Club on Saturday with the 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. The line-up for the final reads:-
E.Fallen, W.W.Wood MBE, G.Robertson, S.Kennedy skip
M.Yuill, D.Berwick capt, S.W.Thomson, A.Marshall MBE skip
M.Johnston, D.Riva, J.Mower, B.Mellors skip
L.Betts, D.Sked, J.Higgins, D.Oliver skip
Reserves: K.Cunningham, L.Middler, G.Blair, C.Darling
The all-important head-to-head rink draws for the final was made last weekend and 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 are requested to report at Meadowmill stadium by no later than 9.30am.
Meanwhile following the conclusion of the final at Blantyre, Alex Marshall MBE will head straight to Blackpool as he is back in World Bowls Tour action next week as he participates in the Co-operative Funeralcare sponsored International Open, which is being staged at Blackpool’s Newton Hall IBC from 5-10 March. Number 4 seed Marshall faces an English qualifier in the shape of Danny Dennison in the first round action on Monday (March 5) at approximately 3pm. All the action from Blackpool is being streamed live on the World Bowls Tour YouTube channel and can be viewed by clicking on www.youtube.com/worldbowlstour
After a well-deserved break the ladies side return to competitive action on Saturday as the Ladies Scottish Cup swings into first round 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’s 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, G.Mackintosh, E.Logan skip M.Kivlin, 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
The senior side survived a tough test against normally bogey side Alloa at neutral venue Headwell IBC in Dunfermline to reach the quarterfinals stage of the Senior Scottish Cup with a 6-4 point’s victory over their national league conquerors.
With Alloa recently crowned national league champions and East Lothian desperate for revenge an epic battle for supremacy was expected and although such heights were reached it was the garden county that always held a slight edge.
Wins on the rinks skipped by Willie Wood MBE and Dougie Berwick delivered 4 vital points that matched the 4 dropped by the defeat of Tommy Young and Alastair Russell. The match aggregate score would settle what had developed into a gripping encounter and the victory salute from the East Lothian camp was triggered by a master scoreboard that flashed a final reading of 63-61 in favour of the ageing stars from the Alex Marshall Arena. “We were always being hard pressed by a keenly competitive opposition but worked our socks off to successfully defend the narrow shot margin advantage we had established from a strong start”, reflected team co-ordinator John P Hamilton. Opposition in Wednesday’s quarter-final action came in the shape of Midlothian with neutral West Lothian IBC in Livingston hosting the local derby clash. Meanwhile the qualifying action in the Jock Brodie Senior Challenge Cup, jointly sponsored by Norman T Craig and Plumbing and Electrical Services of Dunbar, continued last Wednesday and Teviotdale grabbed the main headlines by winning the ‘Borders’ derby clash with Berwickshire, 6-2. In the other match played, Tweedbank led from start to finish to inflict 6-2 misery on Headwell. The qualifying action, weather permitting, continued on Wednesday with Berwickshire in action again this time against Bainfield while at the same time Headwell also returned to face Abbeyview.
It was another successful day for the East Lothian IBC youths last Saturday after both the Pairs and Triples won their respective qualifying sections in the SYIBA Regional Playdowns at Midlothian IBC and progress to the national finals day at East Lothian IBC on Sunday March 18. The pair of Aaron Betts and Robbie Shields counted wins against Midlothian and Alloa and a draw against Bainfield. The triple of Kieran Dodds, Danny Stevenson and Lewis Betts produced wins against Midlothian, Bainfield and Alloa respectively.