The competitive action in the East Coast Carpets sponsored East Lothian Leagues got underway in sunny but cold conditions last Friday evening and reigning Division 1 champions Tranent Bowling Club hit the ground running in fine style with a convincing 7-1 home win over West Barns.Read More
Current national pairs champion Brian ‘Sconie’ Young and stand in skip Davie Whitson provided the shine on the Tranent performance after skipping their respective rinks to victories while former national singles champion John McCrorie battled hard to gain a deserved share of the spoils. Last season’s runners-up and 2014 champions Haddington got their campaign off to a winning note when they recorded a 6-2 home win over Gifford while Cockenzie & Port Seton also enjoyed opening week success with a 6-2 home triumph over Castlepark. Tranent based side EL-Coop served notice on the opening week that they could be a force to be reckoned with this season after they inflicted 8-0 misery on East Linton. In the battle of the newly promoted clubs, it was Division 2 champions Prestongrange who excelled as they sent Elphinstone home nursing an 8-0 defeat. In Division 2, EL-Coop A and Haddington opened their accounts with excellent 8-0 wins against East Linton A and Ormiston respectively while there was good 6-2 wins for Cockenzie & Port Seton A, Aberlady and Tranent A. In Division 3, remarkably four sides, namely Athelstaneford, Cockenzie & Port Seton B, Longniddry and Macmerry all enjoyed opening game 8-0 wins while East Lothian Labour departed West Barns A with a fine 6-2 victory. In Division 4, Haddington B and Dunbar A both celebrated 8-0 triumphs while Gifford A and Prestongrange A recorded 6-2 triumphs.
The action in Division 1 continues tomorrow (Friday) evening and a cracking encounter looks in prospect at Haddington where Cockenzie & Port Seton is the visitors. Both sides have good-looking squads this season and both will be desperate to put down a marker in the race for the title even this very early in the campaign. Titleholders Tranent welcome back influential figures Graham Robertson and Jamie Higgins into their first team line-up as they head down the road to Prestonpans to tackle newly promoted Prestongrange. A high-octane encounter should be assured when Elphinstone play host to EL-Coop while Gifford will hope to use home advantage to good effect when they welcome West Barns. East Linton have been dealt a huge blow ahead of their home clash with Castlepark with the confirmed news that star players Richard Black, Grant Thomson, Calvert Allison and Stewart Bell are all unavailable for their respective league campaign.
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. Meanwhile ELBA would like to remind all clubs that the first four games of the season must commence at 6.30pm with games returning to the normal start time of 6.45pm from Friday May 20.
The Under 25 brigade of East Lothian Bowling Association got their competitive season off to a tremendous start with a confidence-boosting win in the Borders BA hosted Inter-County 4 team tournament staged at Buccleuch BC and next door neighbours Hawick BC last Sunday. The inaugural tournament featured six rink sides from East Lothian, Borders, West Lothian and Midlothian. The garden county young brigade started in magnificent style against the host side recording a whopping 99-38 triumph with five of the six rinks coming out on top. Next up was a clash against West Lothian and at halfway things looked bleak when they trailed by 13 shots. However, team captain Glenn Blair played a few big bowls to inspire his troops and they rallied brilliantly to register a 62-54 victory. So victory over Midlothian in the final game would ensure East Lothian as champions and despite a few scares here and there the outcome of the match was never really in much doubt and the garden county emerged 79-52 and the most pleasing aspect for team managers Stevie and Michael Greenan was the fact all six rinks came out on top in a pressure keg situation.
“The tournament gave selectors Michael and Stevie the chance to experiment a few things ahead of our upcoming national league and cup campaigns and it was pleasing to witness that the players held their nerve and played great as a team especially when a very good West Lothian side put us under extreme pressure in our second game” commented ELBA Vice President Andy Burt.
There was to be a double celebration for East Lothian when also won the Golden Shot tournament. Played with one bowl over five ends the garden county contingent of Glenn Blair, Steven White, Joe Mower, Chris Brock and Calum Darling beat Midlothian 3-2 in the semi-final and then West Lothian by a same scoreline in the final.
Turning attention back to the indoor scene and the talented senior side from East Lothian Indoor Bowling Club triggered an end of season celebration at the Alex Marshall Arena last Wednesday afternoon by capturing the Jock Brodie Seniors Challenge Trophy for a third time in a row having completed the glorious hat trick with a 6-2 points win in the final over Dunfermline club Headwell.
Presented for annual interclub competition by inspirational and personality figure Jock Brodie back in 1998 and he continues to parade his exceptional range of skills and was thrilled to play and be appointed East Lothian captain for the final. “Jock proudly received the trophy from his wife Wilma and the gleaming silverware will sit prominently in our stadiums showcase honours cabinet for a twelfth time,” commented tournament organiser John P Hamilton. “This year’s tournament attracted visiting teams from Perth, Abbeyview, Headwell, West Lothian, Midlothian, Bainfield, Teviotdale, Tweedbank, and Berwickshire reflecting the ongoing popularity of an event co-sponsored by Norman T Craig Soft Furnishings and Co-operative Funeral Services”.
Willie Wood MBE played a prominent part in the host club’s success with the celebrated World Legend skipping Jim McLeod, Jock Brodie and Peter Laidlaw to a commanding 25-8 win over Robbie Philip. Wood and Co produced the first vital spark in the shape of a super count of six on end four to lead 7-4 then in a thrilling display that saw Laidlaw emerge as ‘the man of the match figure’ the rink dwarfed their opposition with counts of 1, (1), 2, 1, 4, 3, (3), 2, 4, 1. The chief architects of the EL triumph received strong support from the rink of Peter Fallen, John P Hamilton, BJ Smith, and Tom Young who were under pressure at 6-5 down to Jim Kerr but zipped to an 18-8 win with a home straight dash of 2, 3, 3, (2), 3, 1, 1. Headwell could not win having sustained two defeats but they did spill home blood in the shape of their rink skipped by Donald Waite inflicting a 19-9 wound on Kenny Glen, George Gray, Ronnie Douglas and Alastair Russell.
During the course of the 12-week tournament, club members Morag Wood and Muriel Hamilton organised a raffle that eventually raised a tremendous sum of £1,047.00 for club funds. The club would like to thank Morag and Muriel for their tremendous efforts and the tournament sponsors for their invaluable continued support.
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