East Lothian IBC new boy Joseph Mower was in celebratory mood last Saturday evening after he captured the Just Retirement World Indoor Under 25 singles title at Potters Leisure Resort in Norfolk.Read More
18-year-old Mower who was born and bred in Wales but now resides in Haddington became the first ever winner of the inaugural event when he defeated his Welsh compatriot and good friend Ross Owen in a closely contested final that had to be settled on a sudden death tie-break end.
Mower started the game brilliantly and always appeared in control of proceedings in the opening set before eventually winning it 9-4. But Owen, who previously had experience on the portable rink at Potters, started to find his rhythm and held the upper hand in the second set to win it 11-4 and force the match into a three end tie-break. Despite the intense pressure both players continued to play superb bowls in the tie-break ends and after two ends played it was one end a piece. On the final end Mower had the luxury of having last bowl and when he went to play it he had game against him. He decided to play a weighted bowl which clipped the jack, struck a bowl, rebounded up the carpet and to Mower’s delight his bowl ended up being shot.
A delighted Mower said afterwards, “It is a great feeling to win this title especially to win it here at Potters as it has always been a dream of mine to play here so to say I’m over the moon is an understatement”.
Meanwhile garden county bowls legend Alex Marshall MBE was beaten at the semi-final stage in his quest to defend his World Indoor Singles title. The six-time champion went into his last four match with Number 4 seed Robert Paxton as the title holder but he was unable to overcome the Englishman. Tattie (Marshall) was in unbelievable form in the opening set and won it very convincingly with an end to spare. Paxton bounced back in the second set and managed to edge it and take the match into a tie-break. And with both players at the top of their game, a final end shoot-out was required to decide the winner, with Paxton edging it to win 3-12, 7-4, 2-1.
Ewan Fallen’s form over the last couple of years suggested that he was potential junior champion in the making and the now 23-year-old star from East Lothian IBC has duly delivered by capturing the Henselite sponsored Scottish Under 25 Singles title at Paisley IBC last Sunday. Fallen brought the national crown back to the Alex Marshall Arena as the reward for serving up a splendid performance to beat Derek Ferguson of Auchinleck, 21-16, in a final that lasted 24 ends. Fallen is the third budding star to bring the coveted title back to ‘the garden county’ as he follows in the footsteps of Derek Oliver (2006) and Wayne Hogg whose double triumph in 2004 and 2005 was augmented by him winning the British Isles title in 2005.
The opening exchanges between two major emerging talents of the sport saw Ferguson quick off the mark as he raced into an 8-0 lead and then continued to look good for the title at 11-5. Despite being under the cosh, Fallen always appeared in good heart and refused to push any panic buttons and he cheered his large travelling support with a run of 2, 2, 1 to cut the deficit to 11-10 and now looked to have the upper hand over his opponent. Singles were traded by both players on the next few ends and with 18 ends played the score was locked at 14-14. It takes killer instinct to become a true champion and Fallen showed that by hitting 20 with three consecutive doubles and then lay shot for the title on three occasions but was denied by a resilient opponent, however, the victory salute was triggered on end 24 with a dominating build-up of the head yielding a title-winning single.
“I felt more than a bit stunned when presented with the national silverware and holding it aloft but the passage of time is allowing the significance of my triumph to sink in and yes I am enjoying the feeling of being crowned the Under 25 singles champion of Scotland”, said Fallen.
The British Isles Title is the next individual target for Fallen and that opportunity knocks for him at Llanelli IBC in Wales come the middle of March but prior to that, he adds to his six previous caps when part of the Under 25 Scotland team defending the Home Championship title at Bristol IBC later next month.
The talented youth section at East Lothian IBC celebrated a double title success in the Aero Bowls sponsored East of Scotland Youth Championships played at Midlothian IBC last Saturday. Budding starlet Dean Riva captured the singles crown while Megan Kivlin, Robbie Buchanan, Craig Mackintosh and Lewis Betts captured the fours crown. Sparkling performances in his group play saw Riva, who is the nephew of world stage star Alex Marshall, dominate all three games to beat Midlothian, Abbeyview 1 and Bainfield then the garden county challenger blossomed with wins over East Fife in the semi-final and Abbeyview – again – in the final. In the fours, the East Lothian challenge in the group play did not get off to the best of starts as they were held to a peel against Midlothian but then Betts and Co showed strong nerves to win their next two matches and top their group. In the semi-final they faced up to East Fife and good performance seen them come out on top and they went on to face Abbeyview in the final and put in their best performance of the day, winning 8-3. “Brilliant achievement by our players and that’s East Lothian won 3 of the 4 East of Scotland titles up for grabs this season with Lewis Betts and Megan Kivlin winning the pairs title before xmas”, said youth convenor Gordon Pryde.
East Lothian IBC’s senior side ambitions of retaining the Scottish Senior League title were left in tatters as they crashed to a surprise 8 shot defeat (66-58) at the hands of Alloa in last Wednesday’s quarter-final action at West Lothian IBC. Defeat for the garden county ‘auld yins’ looked very unlikely as they totally dominated the early stages to lead 33-7 after 5 ends played. After 10 ends East Lothian still held a lead but the deficit cut to 13 and signs looked ominous as Alloa appeared to be gaining more confidence as the game went on. With 15 ends played East Lothian’s lead had been cut to just 3 shots and in the final few ends Alloa turned the match on its by head by totally dominating proceedings and ran out eventual winners. “I’m still trying to come to terms how we managed to blow a win but it is credit to Alloa that they didn’t fold under our early pressure and showed admirable courage and spirit to battle their way back into contention then claim victory”, reflected team convenor John P Hamilton.
Better news is that a senior side progressed through to the next round of the Central District Top Six tournament after registering an opening round 6-0 points win over Tweedbank at Bainfield IBC last Friday. The side will face either Alloa or Falkirk in the next round at West Lothian IBC on a date still to be confirmed.
Meanwhile the opening week action in the Jock Brodie Senior Championships took place last Wednesday at the Alex Marshall Arena and there was 6-2 points wins for both Midlothian and Perth against Teviotdale and West Lothian respectively. The action continued on Wednesday when Headwell tacked Bainfield and Abbeyview clashed with Tweedbank. East Lothian enter the fore this coming Wednesday (February 3) with an opening group play game against Tweedbank.
The gents side return to Scottish Premier League action tomorrow (Saturday) when they welcome relegation threatened Bainfield to the Alex Marshall Arena. For the home side there is nothing at stake in the climax to the qualifying action in the B section but the visitors do have everything to play for as they are in a dog fight with Abbeyview to escape automatic relegation. The home side will be without the services of top skips Alex Marshall MBE and Billy Mellors however there is compensation with the return of team captain Scott Kennedy. The team reads: – M.Higgenbotham, J.Gordon, S.W.Thomson, D.Oliver skip L.Middler, D.Berwick, J.Mower, S.Kennedy skip/capt M.Johnston, G.Darling, W.W.Wood MBE, G.Robertson skip A.Jeffrey, G.Blair, E.Fallen, J.Higgins skip