East Lothian’s campaign aim in the highly competitive East section of the Scottish Counties Championship is to finish in one of the top two qualifying places and the elite bowlers of the garden county made an encouraging start with an excellent victory over arch rivals Edinburgh & Leith at Currie BC last Saturday.Read More
Wins on four of the six rinks made it a pleasing performance in depth for team manager Stewart Johnston and the 10 shots banked from a 124-114 victory is the perfect boost to morale going into this weekend’s match against Stirling County East at Haddington BC. “We started the game brilliantly and by halfway we held a 25 shot lead but we always expected Edinburgh & Leith onslaught in the closing stages which was duly delivered but we held on admirably in the closing stages to secure a tremendous but hard earned opening week victory”, said a delighted Johnston. World stage icon figure Alex ‘Tattie’ Marshall MBE inspired the East Lothian charge to victory at Currie after he skipped Stewart Thomson, Craig McLeod and Alister Kennedy to a probable match winning 18 shot triumph with support coming from the rinks skipped by Craig Valentine (+6), team captain Scott Kennedy (+4) and Brian Young (+2). The home side did inflict pain on the rinks skipped by Billy Mellors (-8) and John McCrorie (-12).
The side is back in action on Saturday with a home clash against Stirling County East at Haddington BC. Team manager Stewart Johnston has to cope with three major enforced changes after receiving call-offs from Alex Marshall MBE, Alister Kennedy and team captain Scott Kennedy. Local legends of the sport, namely Graham Robertson of Tranent and Gifford’s Willie Wood MBE answered SOS calls from Johnston and both have kindly agreed to help while Johnston himself is being called into action to fill the vacant position remaining. The full team reads: – R.Thomson (ELCO), D.Berwick (Giff),S.Johnston (Orm), B.Mellors (Hadd) skip C.Johnston (Orm), M.McCormack (Win), J.Mower (Hadd), G.Blair (Hadd) 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), W.W.Wood MBE (Giff), G.Robertson (Tra) skip A.Martin (Tra), 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 to report at Haddington BC by no later than 1.30pm.
Meanwhile the Under 25 brigade from East Lothian are leading contenders to claim top qualifying honours in the East section of the Scottish Under 25 League Cup and they launched their campaign with a commanding 41 shot away win (134-93) over local rivals Midlothian at Loanhead Miners BC last Sunday.
Midlothian represents dangerous opposition on their day and East Lothian have known to sleepwalk in their opening fixture in recent years however, they produced a strong team performance to win on five of the six rinks. Wins on the rinks skipped by Steven White, team captain Glenn Blair, Kieran Frame, Joe Mower and Sam Gray were mostly hard earned while it was also a pleasing factor for joint team managers Stevie and Michael Greenan that the defeat of Gordon White was by only a couple of shots. Next up for the garden county young brigade is a mouth-watering clash with chief rivals in the race for top spot Edinburgh & Leith at Cockenzie & Port Seton BC on Sunday. The selectors have made one enforced change with James Burnett of Castlepark making his seasonal debut in place of the unavailable Dean French (Elphinstone) while they have also decided to reshuffle some of the pack in a side that reads: – L.Gallagher (W/B), L.Newlands (Ath), R.Thomson (ELCO), J.Burnett (C/P) skip D.Riva (Giff), K.Yule (P/G), G.White (Aber), J.Mower (Hadd) skip J.Ferguson (Long), M.McWilliams (Hadd), Dec French (Elph), S.Gray (C/P) skip C.Brock (Hadd), D.Young (ELCO), 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 Any player selected who is unable to play is requested to contact team manager Stevie Greenan immediately on 07712 277681. All players requested to report at Cockenzie & Port Seton BC by no later than 1.30pm.
Tranent Bowling Club carried the East Lothian banner into the second round of the Co-operative Funeralcare sponsored Scottish Inter-County Top Ten Championships following a hard fought 6-2 points home success over Aberdeen & Kincardine champions Inverurie BC at Polson Park last Sunday. Singles spearhead figure John McCrorie suffered a 21-13 defeat to impressive opposition in the shape of Scotland cap Jason Banks but excellent wins in the pairs, triples and fours carried the day for Tranent. They now face a much anticipated clash away clash with Dumbartonshire champions Dumbarton Rock BC on Sunday. On their way, to the last four in 1994, Tranent visited their opponents and departed with a famous victory and hopes high this current crop of players can emulate that success and head back along the M8 in a jubilant mood. 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 final of the Bowls Scotland Mixed Pairs will take centre stage at EL-Coop BC in Tranent on Monday evening from 7pm. The pairing who emerged victorious will represent East Lothian in the national finals at Ayr Northfield in late July.
Haddington are good value for money performers in Division 1 of the East Coast Carpets sponsored East Lothian Leagues and the 2014 champions have made an excellent start to the 2016 campaign with 27 points from a possible 32 banked over the first four games. Last Friday night’s 8-0 home win over struggling East Linton was a formbook result but was delivered in an impressive manner on all three rinks. EL-Coop moved to within three points of the leaders when they bounced back to winning ways with a 6-2 home success over Castlepark while neighbours Tranent are a further point adrift in third place following their 6-2 away win at Elphinstone. Cockenzie & Port Seton climbed into fourth thanks to a 7-1 home triumph over West Barns while Gifford added to Prestongrange early season woes with an 8-0 home win.
In this Friday night’s action, Division 1 leaders Haddington make the trip to foot of the table Prestongrange missing the services of Scotland cap Billy Mellors but should still have enough in reserve to overcome their lowly opponents. A high octane is expected at Gifford where second placed EL-Coop is the visitors while third in the table Tranent face a tricky away fixture at Castlepark. Cockenzie & Port Seton will be without Scott Kennedy when they head up the A1 to tackle struggling East Linton while it is an early season bottom of the table crunch match between West Barns and Elphinstone.
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