The competitive outdoor bowling season will well and truly burst into action this Friday evening as the opening fixtures in the East Lothian Leagues are staged around the length and breadth of the county.Read More
Officials at ELBA have confirmed that Prestonpans, Tranent and Gullane based company East Coast Carpets have kindly agreed to be league sponsors for a seventh consecutive year.
As ever the main spotlight will be on the race for the prestigious Division 1 title and holders Haddington get their defence of the title with a tricky looking away fixture at 2015 champions Tranent. The champions received a huge blow during the close season when icon figure and former world stage star Angus Blair announced his immediate retirement from the sport on health grounds. Blair has enjoyed an illustrious career winning a host of National and British titles but his main highlight came in 1992 when he won gold medal in the fours and a bronze medal in the singles in the World Outdoor Bowls Championships at Worthing. Welshman Joe Mower has indicated he is taking an indefinite break from outdoor bowling but better news for the Hi Hi’s is former player Malcolm Higgenbotham has re-joined the club after a long spell playing at Edinburgh club Tanfield, while other new signings include Stevie Kirk from Whitehouse & Grange, John Lockhart from Polton and Calum Darling from Gifford. Tranent have suffered a double knockout blow during the winter transfer window with top players Brian Young and Jamie Higgins both moving on to pastures new. EL-Coop have boosted their squad by confirming the signing of former national pairs champion Brian ‘Sconie’ Young from neighbours Tranent while Dougie Berwick is also a cracking addition following his switch from Gifford. EL-Coop open at home against last season’s Top Ten Champions East Linton and it will be an emotional occasion for many of the ‘Linton’ players as it will be their first match since the recent shock and sudden death of popular club member Alan ‘Colonel’ Clydesdale. Cockenzie & Port Seton start with a home fixture against Division 2 champions Dunbar and they will parade new signing Jamie Higgins following his close season move from Tranent. Dunbar will go with more or less the same pool of players that served them so well last season. Castlepark open at home against West Barns but will be without the services of Colin Glen after he re-joined Division 2 side Elphinstone in a surprise close season move. West Barns survived a close relegation shave last season but if they can get all their top players firing they should have no such issues this season. Division 2 runners-up Aberlady have boosted their first team playing squad by completing the signing of Declan French from Elphinstone and he is set to make his debut at Gifford on Friday night. Unconfirmed reports suggest Gifford have lost the services of a few key first team players from last season’s squad but will be buoyed by the news that king pin figure Alex ‘Tattie’ Marshall should be available for a good majority of the campaign. The action also gets underway in Divisions 2, 3 & 4 on Friday night with the following fixtures: – Division 2 – Athelstaneford v Elphinstone; Haddington A v Cockenzie & Port Seton A; Prestongrange v Castlepark A; Tranent A v EL-Coop A; Winton v Ormiston. Division 3 – Dunbar A v North Berwick; East Linton A v Cockburnspath; Longniddry v Cockenzie & Port Seton B; Macmerry v E L Labour; West Barns A v Prestongrange A. Division 4 – Castlepark B v Aberlady A; Dirleton v Gifford A; Prestongrange B v Haddington B; Stenton v Macmerry A.
All clubs in Divisions 1-4 are reminded that the starting time for the opening four games of the season is 6.30pm. The action in the Thursday afternoon Senior Leagues gets underway next Thursday (May 4) with a full card of action in Divisions 1, 2 & 3. 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.
The East Lothian Under 25 side will step up preparations for their forthcoming Scottish League Cup campaign by participating in a round robin 6 rink team tournament hosted by Borders BA, which will also involve sides from Midlothian and West Lothian. The early season warm up event is being staged at Hawick Bowling Club. Team manager Michael Greenan of Cockenzie & Port Seton has announced that all players nominated by their respective club will be given an opportunity to play as he will make personnel and positional changes in all the games. Coach pick-up times are: – Haddington Corn Exchange 8.00am Tranent Police Station 8.15am Hasties Garage, Prestonpans 8.25am
Anyone wishing to travel on the team coach or requiring any additional information should contact team convenor Stevie Greenan immediately on 07712 277681.
Meanwhile any player who would like to be considered for selection for East Lothian in the forthcoming Scottish Counties Championship (Hamilton Trophy) must submit name and contact details to ELBA Match Secretary Keith Fender by email firstname.lastname@example.org before Tuesday (May 2). Hamilton Trophy winning team manager Stuart Johnston of Ormiston BC will take charge of team selection for the second consecutive year and he will name his side well in advance of the opening week fixture against West Lothian at Haddington BC on Saturday May 13.
Finally, 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