Scottish Counties Championship title glory is now just one more win away for East Lothian bowlers with the star-studded team from the garden county emerging from their semi-final battle against West section champions Lanarkshire West at Broughty BC in Dundee last Saturday with a 13 shot victory.Read More
The clash between two top sides was expected to be intensely fought with emotions always running high in such head-to-head confrontations; but unlike the previous week, the match temperature never reached boiling point with East Lothian always appearing in command although their opponents did get within single figures just after the halfway mark. “We appeared focused from the opening ends and always appeared to be in control of proceedings but it did get nervy around the 15 end mark when they got to within a few shots of us but we replied instantly by scoring heavily across the green and that proved decisive”, said team manager Stewart Johnston.
A big win on the rink skipped by team captain Scott Kennedy and single figure support from Brian Young and John McCrorie plus a peel for Glenn Blair were positive components of a 122-109 victory that contained setbacks for Billy Mellors and Alister Kennedy. East Lothian tackle South section winners Dumfriesshire in Saturday’s final Blackhill BC in Glasgow, which again will have a 2pm start. Kennedy emerged the hero figure as he blazed a 19-4 trail before skipping Chris Johnston, Marc McCormack and Jamie Higgins to a whopping 29-15 triumph over Robert Brown. Young and his front three of Matt Osborne, Billy Cormack and Billy Dunleavey counted a massive five on the final end to register a 22-17 win against Alex Kelly while Adam Martin, Jamie Gordon, Willie Wood MBE and McCrorie finished 3, 2 to inflict 18-13 pain on Gordon Prentice. Blair reached 16-7 with a mighty count of 7 at end 12 but then suffered a few blips before skipping Ross Thomson, Davie Whitson and Tom Young to a 21-21 draw against Gary Prunty. Mellors slipped from 19-14 up to a 22-20 defeat from Robert Brown while Kennedy lost 21-12 to Steven McLaren.
Team news for the final is that team manager Stewart Johnston is able to call upon the services of Gifford king pin Alex Marshall MBE while Cockenzie & Port Seton star Craig Valentine is also recalled to the side. Holiday commitments mean Stephen Cochrane of EL-Coop will not figure in the final while Adam Martin of Tranent is the unfortunate player to be sidelined. The team reads:- R.Thomson (ELCO), D.Whitson (Tra), T.Young (Dun), G.Blair (Hadd) skip C.Johnston (Orm), M.McCormack (Win), J.Higgins (Tra), S.Kennedy (C&PS) skip G.White (Aber), J.Gordon (C&PS), W.W.Wood M.B.E. (Giff), J.McCrorie (Tra) skip M.Osborne (Tra), B.Cormack (Mac), B.Dunleavey (Aber), B.Young (Tra) skip S.Thomson (Hadd), C.McLeod (Win), A.Kennedy (Hadd), A.Marshall MBE (Giff) skip J.Mower (Hadd), G.Pryde (ELCO), C.Valentine (C&PS), B.Mellors (Hadd) skip Any player selected who is unable to play is requested to contact team manager Stewart Johnston immediately on 07939 700720. He is also requesting that all players travel on the team bus and travel in traditional greys and whites. Bus pick-up times as follows: Haddington (Corn Exchange) 11am Macmerry (Miners Club) 11.10am Tranent (EL-Coop BC) 11.20am
Any supporters wishing to travel on the team coach are asked to contact ELBA President David Todd on 07723 042477 to check on availability of seats. No matter what the result on Saturday the East Lothian players, officials and supporters will return to the Winton Arms in Pencaitland for a few after match refreshments.
After two successive agonising single shot defeats the East Lothian senior side finally got a much needed win in the Inter County Senior League Cup for the Matt Purdie Trophy and it saw the former two times champions score an impressive 96-57 home win over West Lothian at EL-Coop BC on Monday.
Cockenzie & Port Seton’s Alan Morgan made the major contribution by skipping Derek Temperley, Alex Stewart and Gordon Blyth to a 30-6 win over Ronnie Erskine. Tranent star Alister Russell added a second major success for the garden county ‘auld yins’ by skipping Bobby Scott, Kenny Morgan and John P Hamilton to a 16-9 win over Gordon Scott. East Linton legend George Cowan and his front three of Davie Arnott, George Gray and George Smith were involved in a ding-dong battle with former Rangers and Scotland legend Colin Stein before coming out on top 18-10. Tommy Thomson, Jackie Greenwood, Robert ‘Banger’ Strang and team captain Tom Young were 12-7 down against George Sneddon but rallied brilliantly to record a 16-15 triumph. The rink skipped by Jim Murray was pipped 17-16 by Gordon Logan. “That was more like it from the players and I’m hoping this will now give us a confidence boost to go on and make a challenge for the qualifying honours in the section but we cannot afford any further negative results”, said team convenor Andy Burt. Due to the national finals being staged next week the side has no fixture this coming Monday but return to action the following Monday (August 1) with a home clash against Stirling East at Dunbar BC.
East Lothian Co-operative Bowling Club will have a three-way representation at the Scottish Young Bowlers Association national finals at Ayr Northfield on Monday. Spearheading the garden county challenge in the blue riband singles event will be David Young while Megan Kivlin and Dean Riva are hoping to make a successful defence of their pair’s title. The challenge in the triples comes from Cameron Shaw, Robbie Shields and Robbie Buchanan.
Meanwhile the National Bowling Championships swing into action at Ayr Northfield on Tuesday with play in the Seniors Singles and Fours, and the Mixed Pairs taking centre stage ahead of the gladiatorial mainstream events next Thursday (July 28). The challenge from the garden county is a strong one and spearheaded by last season’s national runners-up John McCrorie and his niece Dee Hoggan of Tranent who have battled through to the qualifying system again to try to go one better and capture the Mixed Pairs title. The Tranent duo opens against Corunna of Glasgow on the 12.30pm session. It is hoped Davie Arnott of EL-Coop will give his strong local support something to shout about in the gent’s senior singles where he opens against Wellington Park at 3.30pm while on the same session Margaret Thomson of Castlepark faces Greenfaulds in the ladies senior singles. John McKellar, Tom Morrison, Jim Murray and Bobby Brunton of Dunbar carry the local hopes in the gent’s senior fours and they face an opening high noon showdown with Earlston while on the same session in the ladies equivalent the Gullane senior rink tackle Cumnock.
The champagne corks were popping at their Polson Park base last Sunday evening after Tranent Bowling Club served up a strong display to win the ELBA Top Five Singles championship for a first time. Cockenzie & Port Seton played the bridesmaid role with Tranent claiming a commanding 5-0 victory in the final played at East Linton BC. Adam Martin, John McCrorie, Matt Osborne, Kevin Jones and Kevin Cunningham were the players who done their club proud by inflicting pain and misery on their victims Michael Greenan, John Gearty, Craig Valentine, Martin Munro and Colin Leishman. Tranent now go forward and represent East Lothian in the national event next season.
On Saturday, East Lothian Co-op BC in Tranent stages the SYBA Inter-County regional qualifiers for the prestigious Andy Houston Trophy. East Lothian will do battle with Midlothian, Edinburgh East and Edinburgh West with the victorious side going forward to represent the region in the national finals. The East Lothian team reads:- K.Dodds (ELCO), B.Riva (ELCO), H.Cunningham (C&PS), D.Riva (ELCO) skip C.Johnstone (C&PS), M.Kellagher (Aber), C.Shaw (ELCO), D.Young (ELCO) skip/capt L.Hogg (C&PS), R.Reay (Orm), R.Shields (ELCO), M.Kivlin (ELCO) skip C.Lynn (Aber), G.Lumsden (C&PS), J.Clark (ELCO), R.Buchanan (ELCO) skip All players requested to report at EL-Coop for 9.30am. The youth section would like to thanks sponsors Mums @ The Mill, The Workshop Port Seton Ltd, Gare Property Maintenance and A.B.Splash for their invaluable continued support.
Defending champions Tranent have hit the front entering the final five match home straight in the race for the coveted Division 1 title of the East Coast Carpets sponsored East Lothian Leagues and will be massively encouraged that it is a result of all their chief rivals suffering damaging defeats in last Friday night’s action. Tranent fired on two of its three cylinders to register a 6-2 home win over relegation zoned Elphinstone and now lead the field with a 4-point gap between them and the chasing pack. EL-Coop lead the chasers but their title hopes suffered a blow when they crashed to a 6-2 defeat away to Castlepark. Haddington retained third place but their hopes of emulating their success of 2014 was rocked to the core when they went down 6-2 at East Linton. Cockenzie & Port Seton were expected to be in the frame entering the run to the line but the former five-in-a-row champions succumbed to a 8-0 defeat at West Barns and are now a sizeable 11 points adrift of the leaders. Prestongrange entertained Gifford and their 6-2 win has put the cat amongst the pigeons in the battle for survival as now only seven points separates the bottom four sides with Elphinstone, Prestongrange, West Barns and Gifford all in the relegation mix.
Friday night’s fixtures see Division 1 leaders Tranent at home to Castlepark in an interesting battle between two top teams. EL-Coop, Haddington and Cockenzie & Port Seton are all normally hard nuts to crack at home so entertain their respective visitors, namely Gifford, Prestongrange and East Linton, with high expectations of victory. The other fixture is a huge match in the battle for survival when Elphinstone play host to West Barns.
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.
Cockenzie & Port Seton Bowling Club is staging an Open Pairs tournament on Saturday 13th August with a high-class field expected to challenge for the lucrative £400+ prize fund on offer in the Belhaven Brewery sponsored event. The tournament is a round robin event and entries are now being accepted and can be obtained by contacting club match secretary Steven Morgan on 01875 810481.
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