East Lothian’s failure to beat a struggling Fife County team on home soil in last Saturday’s penultimate qualifying fixture in the Scottish Counties Championship at Prestongrange BC has put a severe dent in the defending champion’s aspirations of reaching the knockout stage of the 2017 Scottish Counties Championships.Read More
Hopes the garden county could keep the pressure on runaway East section leaders Midlothian were crushed by a shock 15-shot defeat (110-95) from a Fife team recording only their first win of the qualifying campaign.
“We appeared very lack lustre from the opening ends and just never got going at any time during the match. We have paid the ultimate price for it as our qualifying hopes is now out of our own hands”, said team manager Stuart Johnston. Going into Saturday’s final round of fixtures it is still all to play for but East Lothian face a tough away assignment against a Midlothian side that are undefeated and already confirmed as section winners. Chief rivals for second place West Lothian also face an away fixture but look to have the easier task as they face a badly struggling Edinburgh & Leith side.
Wins on two rinks skipped by John McCrorie (+10) and team captain Billy Mellors (+6) was the best the garden county could offer with Brian Young (-4), Steven Morgan (-5), Glenn Blair (-8) and Malcolm Higgenbotham (-14) all losing. Team manager Stewart Johnston has called in reinforcements ahead of Saturday’s must win visit to section leaders Midlothian at Rosslyn BC. As expected, Scott Kennedy returns to the line-up while his younger brother, Alister is recalled by Johnston to make only his second appearance of the campaign. In another surprise twist, one time captain Craig Valentine (Cockenzie & Port Seton) is handed a seasonal debut and there is a trio of positional changes that involve Glenn Blair, Malcolm Higgenbotham and Joe Mower. Stalwart figure Billy Dunleavey is ruled out with a leg injury while Matt Osborne and Tommy Young drop to the reserve bench. The team reads: – D.Riva (Giff), C.McLeod (Win), C.Valentine (C&PS), S.Morgan (C&PS) skip R.Thomson (ELCO), J.Carpenter Jnr (Athe), S.Cochrane (ELCO), J.McCrorie (Tra) skip J.Mower (Hadd), G.Pryde (ELCO), M.Higgenbotham (Hadd), B.Mellors (Hadd) skip/capt S.W.Thomson (Hadd), A.Martin (Tra), D.Sked (Giff), A.Kennedy (Hadd) skip C.Johnston (Win), M.McCormack (Win), G.White (Aber), S.Kennedy (C&PS) skip S.White (ELCO), S.Mackie (ELCO), G.Blair (Hadd), B.Young (ELCO) skip Any player selected who is unable to play is requested to contact team manager Stewart Johnston immediately on 07939 700720. All players report at Rosslyn BC by no later than 1.20pm.
Billy Mellors is hoping to make a big impact again in the final stages of the Bowls Scotland Scottish Championships at Ayr Northfield next month with the 41-year-old Haddington star booking his passage after producing a strong winning to capture the East Lothian District Singles title in the qualifying climax at a sun drenched Castlepark BC last Sunday. Mellors is no stranger to the exciting and demanding challenges that face him at the sports Centre of the Universe having already captured national titles on no fewer than three occasions. Mellors – current team captain of East Lothian – lined up against Kevin Jones of Tranent and quickly mastered the challenges of fast-paced surface to open up a 10-1 lead. Jones arrested the slide with a treble to 4 but Mellor kept his opponent on the hook with a run of 1, 4, 2, 3 then at 20-5 bagged a single to win 21-5 in just 14 ends. The final of the junior singles featured two top players in the shape of Joe Mower (Haddington) and Ross Thomson (EL-Coop); but the expected cracker failed to ignite with Mower dominating the scoring to win 21-11 in 19 ends. Current national singles champion Derek Oliver will be returning to the big stage for a second consecutive year but this time in the Pairs after he teamed with Cockenzie & Port Seton teammate Steven Morgan to win the title following an 18-11 win over Gordon Hunter and Gary McNab of Haddington. Haddington went into the District Finals with a five-pronged attack and celebrated a third triumph in the Triples when Colin Dick, Stewart Thomson and Alister Kennedy showed their class in a 17-7 win over Macmerry’s Paul Mair, Kenny Donaldson and Billy Cormack. There was more to come from Haddington who were also contesting the Senior Singles final in the shape of Andy Burt against Lindsay Bell of Longniddry. This developed into a cracking encounter with peels called at 16-16 before Burt clinched the title with a 1, 4 finish to win 21-16 to complete a memorable afternoon for the Hi Hi’s. Prestongrange looked good for success at 6-2 up in the Fours but Tranent’s Kevin Cunningham, Davie Sands, Matt Osborne and John McCrorie stormed to a 22-13 victory with a great finish against Craig Innes, Brian Burnside, Stevie Greenan and Ross Marwick. Macmerry prevailed in the Senior Fours with Davie Pryde skipping Jim Hogg, Ted Skillen and Bobby Scott to a convincing 22-13 victory over Stewart Galloway, Bobby Brownlie, Jackie Greenwood and George McLeod of Aberlady.
Meanwhile the district finals of the Scottish Young Bowlers National Championships took place at Aberlady BC last Saturday to decide who would represent the East Lothian challenge in the national finals. Current national ladies junior singles champion Megan Kivlin of EL-Coop will spearhead the garden county challenge in the blue riband singles event at the championships at Ayr Northfield on Sunday July 30th. Cockenzie & Port Seton captured the limelight in the Pairs playdown action with the brother and sister combination of Logan Kennedy and Lucy Hogg finishing top of their section to book their place at Ayr. The EL-Coop trio of Beth Riva, Cameron Shaw and Robbie Shields will carry the local hopes in the triples event. “The standard of bowling was exceptional throughout the whole day and all the youngsters played the game in great spirit which was brilliant to see. A massive well done to everyone who took part”, said an ELBA spokesperson.
Bowls Scotland have finally announced their final line-ups for the upcoming gent’s senior and junior British Isles Home International series. The senior internationals this year are being staged next weekend (July 1 & 2) in Northern Ireland at Belmont BC in Belfast. Haddington’s Malcolm Higgenbothan is included in the final 24-man line-up while Scott Kennedy of Cockenzie & Port Seton is named one of the travelling reserves. The junior international series is staged later in the season and this year is being staged at Llandrindod Wells BC in Wales. Haddington young star very deservedly Glenn Blair has made the final 24-man line up and will skip one of the young Scots rinks.
East Lothian senior side get their Inter-County Senior League Cup campaign for the Matt Purdie Trophy underway soon on Monday July 3rd when they make the journey to Burnhead BC in Larbert to tackle Stirling East. Following a trial match at EL-Coop BC on Monday the following side has been announced: – B.Scott, G.Gray, G.Smith, G.Cowan skip A.McCue, J.Smith, D.Arnot, A.Morgan skip J.Hogg, B.Davidson, D.Kennedy, T.Young skip K.Morgan, J.P.Hamilton, G.Blyth, D.Pryde skip B.Brunton, J.Murray, R.Strang, A.Russell skip Reserves: – M.Gordon, K.Borthwick, D.Temperley, A.Jamieson, J.Rolland
Any player selected who is unable to play is requested to contact team convenor John P Hamilton immediately on 07974 648401. Meanwhile it has been announced Plumbing & Electrical Services Dunbar will sponsor the team.
Last Friday night saw the first half of fixtures in the East Coast Carpets sponsored East Lothian Leagues completed and in Division 1 defending champions Haddington remain in pole position and four points clear of the chasing field following their 6-2 win at home against Dunbar. Cockenzie & Port Seton lead the chase in second place and consolidated their position with a 6-2 home win over struggling Castlepark. Third place EL-Coop gained a couple of points on the top two after bagging an expected 8-0 home win over foot of the table Gifford. Tranent’s good run of form continued with a convincing 6-2 win over Aberlady at home while the fixture between East Linton and West Barns was postponed and rescheduled for tonight (Thursday).
On Friday night, hot pot Division 1 leaders Haddington enjoy home advantage for the second successive week against an in form Tranent side who welcome back former world stage star Graham Robertson into their first team line-up. Cockenzie & Port Seton cannot afford to take Dunbar lightly on their visit to the newly promoted side. EL-Coop faces a testing away assignment at East Linton while West Barns can perk up their campaign if producing the goods at home to out of sort’s visitors Castlepark. Aberlady at home are expected to stamp their authority on foot of the table Gifford.
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.