There will be a very strong East Lothian IBC challenge for the gents Scottish Fours title in the New Year with Commonwealth Games bound Derek Oliver, his fellow garden county stars Jamie Higgins, Joe Mower (late replacement for Billy Mellors), and Scott Kennedy capturing the playdown honours in last weekend’s section play at Whiteinch IBC.Read More
Convincing wins over Alloa, Cumbernauld, Stirling and Headwell at the Glasgow venue sparked scenes of excited jubilation in the East Lothian camp and promoted thoughts of Oliver and his front-three going on to bring national title glory in the Fours to the club for a fourth time.
They opened play last Saturday morning with a preliminary round clash against Alloa and a powerful display by Oliver and his rink saw them score a commanding 25-5 triumph. First round proper opposition came in the shape of a strong Cumbernauld rink and the hard-fought battle that unfolded tested the mettle of the banner carriers of the garden county, but they rose resiliently to the challenge and edged a humdinger of a game, 17-10. Stirling provided the second-round challenge but from the opening ends, the result was never in doubt as Oliver and Co coasted to a 21-13 victory. The section final pitched them against underdog opposition in the shape of Headwell and a scintillating display saw East Lothian confirm the formbook with a commanding 20-3 triumph with a few ends to spare. “Reaching the final stages of the championships gives East Lothian the chance to win the title for a fourth time and we are confident we can deliver on the big stage at Coatbridge in February”, said a jubilant Derek Oliver. The semi-final line up at Coatbridge IBC on Saturday February 24 is East Lothian v Coatbridge and Galleon v Dundee.
In the ladies playdown action the local banner was proudly carried by Dee Hoggan, Yvonne Veitch, Margaret Thomson and Janet Fairnie and despite a cracking effort, they could not join the men in the semi-finals as they lost out to East Fife in the quarterfinals. After a hat-trick of super wins over Auchinleck (19-14), Stirling (25-9) and Paisley (29-10) they were behind early on in their tussle with East Fife and never recovered before eventually losing, 20-13.
There is national playdown action at East Lothian IBC on Sunday as they host several matches in the Scottish Senior Fours from 10am. Billy Higgins, Tom Moffat, Alastair Russell and Willie Wood MBE represent the local banner and they hope to use home carpet advantage to good effect when they tackle West Lothian in the first round proper at 2pm.
On the international stage its congratulations to the East Lothian IBC contingent of Joe Mower, Calum Darling, Dean Riva and Lewis Betts after they received news they have all been included in the Scotland Gents Under 25 trial match being played at Bainfield IBC on Sunday. The trial side for the Scotland Senior Ladies side was also announced and the East Lothian talented trio of Emma Logan, Yvonne Veitch and Dee Hoggan were all included and head to Paisley IBC on Sunday for the trial match.
The gent’s side from East Lothian IBC return to Scottish Premier League action on Saturday and the current B section leaders face a tough away assignment when making the long trek North to tackle Elgin. Elgin is unfamiliar territory for an East Lothian team that welcomes back world stage star Alex Marshall MBE and stalwart figure Andrew Jeffrey. Mark Johnston and Glenn Blair are sidelined in a slightly reshuffled line-up that reads:- C.Darling, W.W.Wood MBE, J.Mower, G.Robertson skip M.Yuill, S.W.Thomson, J.Higgins, A.Marshall skip A.Jeffrey, D.Sked, D.Riva, B.Mellors skip E.Fallen, L.Betts, S.Kennedy, D.Oliver skip
The high-flying ladies side also return to Scottish League action on Saturday and the current East Premier Division leaders have home carpet advantage against an Abbeyview side struggling at the lower end of the table. East Lothian will be very hopeful of extending their unbeaten run to five games but will need to do it without the help of club champion Dee Hoggan. Stalwart figure Nancy McNeil is the player drafted in by team manager Gordon Pryde while Abbeyview could tremble at the sights of four top-notch opposition skips in the shape of Yvonne Veitch, Emma Logan, Lauren Baillie and Janet Fairnie. The team reads:- M.Devine, C.Jones, N.McNeil, Y.Veitch skip M.Murray, K.Hoggan, M.Kivlin, E.Logan skip J.McFarlane, A.Berwick, G.Mackintosh, L.Baillie skip/capt B.Riva, M.Penman, M.Thomson, J.Fairnie skip
The youth side from East Lothian IBC have started this season where they finished last season – winning trophies. Last Sunday they participated in the Midlothian IBC Youth Tournament and emerged well-deserved champions. The format was a two-rink team competition and all eight players, namely Robbie Shields, Danny Stevenson, Robbie Buchanan, Melissa Penman, Beth Riva, Kieran Dodds, Aaron Betts and Lucy Hogg played consistently well throughout the early season tournament. The garden county young brigade was the only undefeated side recording victories over Stirling, Falkirk, Midlothian, Bainfield and Abbeyview respectively. Meanwhile the SYIBA held the first of two trial matches at Abbeyview IBC last Sunday and the East Lothian contingent of Aaron Betts, Lewis Betts, Robbie Buchanan, Robbie Shields, Danny Stevenson and Mellissa Penman all participated and made it through to the second trial match in January when the Scotland team will be selected.