Bowls Scotland has named the 20 players it believes have the potential to deliver medal winning performances in major international championships in its High Performance squad.
The squad, for the period 1st September 2015 to 31st August 2016, and it includes the ultra-talented East Lothian duo of Alex Marshall MBE (Gifford) and Lauren Baillie (Cockenzie & Port Seton BC). “The purpose of this interim selection criteria is to establish a group of players that can be brought together for training, with fully integrated support from the sportscotland institute of sport, and be used for selection for a variety of competitions and squads,” said High Performance Coach John Price.
Welshman John Price was appointed this May as Bowls Scotland’s first ever High Performance Coach, alongside former Olympic champion, Rhona Howie, appointed as its first High Performance Manager.
Macmerry Bowling Club attracted a big crowd to their staging of the finals day of the East Lothian County Championships last Saturday and it was Alistair Russell of Tranent Bowling Club who grabbed the main headlines after he landed the blue riband singles event. Russell capped off his outdoor season in tremendous fashion after he achieved the ambition of etching his name on the prestigious trophy with a convincing 21-11 win over Billy Dunleavey of Aberlady in the final that lasted 18 ends.
Adam Martin of Athelstaneford etched his name on the Junior Singles trophy following a hard fought 21-17 success over Castlepark’s Sam Gray while EL-Coop’s Dean Riva produced an outstanding performance in the Youth Singles final to beat Zoe Whellans of Haddington, 21-1 in 11-ends.
West Barns captured the honours in the Pairs final but an epic encounter against East Linton was decided on the last end before Paul Mair and Billy Cormack raised the victory salute with a 17-16 win over Keith Hamilton and Keith Fender. The lead changed hands several times in a ding-dong battle early doors but the pendulum swung in favour of East Linton with a run of 4, 2, 2, 1 that gave them a healthy looking 16-10 advantage going into the final end. But in an unbelievable climax to the match saw the Mair/Cormack partnership conjured a remarkable count of seven shots to capture title glory from the jaws of defeat. The EL-Coop name was etched on the Triples trophy but it was hard earned with Gordon Pryde skipping Willie Auld and Steven White to a 19-13 win over Gregor Fraser, Daniel Strachan and Marc McCormack of Winton. A glorious treble for EL-Coop was complete when Cameron Shaw, Robbie Buchanan, Robbie Shields and Megan Kivlin lifted the Youth Fours title with an 18-10 win over Bruce Kellagher, Melissa Penman, Hamish Thomson and Matt Kellagher of Aberlady. Cockenzie & Port Seton dominated the final of the Fours with the rink of Craig Fairgrieve, Darren Donnelly, Stewart Wilson and Martin Munro holding all the aces in a 17-5 win over Cameron Fairgrieve, Greg Thomson, Keith Reid and Thomas Heron of Athelstaneford. The East Lothian Labour Club celebrated title success in the Senior Fours with the rink of Jim Main, Robert Martin, John Rolland and Jim Smith inflicting 13-9 pain on Bobby Davidson, Ian Veitch, Willie Doran and Alex Jamieson of Cockenzie & Port Seton.
The race for the Division 1 title in the East Coast Carpets sponsored East Lothian Leagues will go right down to the wire but Tranent enter tonight’s (Friday) final round of matches with a healthy looking four point cushion over second placed Haddington and will have home advantage over foot of the table Dunbar so it is very much now theirs to lose. In last Friday night’s penultimate week of action Tranent emerged from Gifford with a hard fought 4-4 draw and the Polson Park based side raised the roof when news filtered through that chief rivals Haddington had suffered a disastrous 8-0 thumping at Cockenzie & Port Seton. Mathematically speaking Cockenzie & Port Seton remain in the title picture as they trail the leaders by seven points but it would take a remarkable turn of events for the them to snatch the title from under the noses of the top two. The escape hatch in the relegation zone was closed on Castlepark A as their fate was finally sealed after losing 7-1 at home to EL-Coop. Foot of the table Dunbar and West Barns fought out a 4-4 draw while East Linton enjoyed an 8-0 win at home against Castlepark. The race for the Division 2 title is going to be a melting pot climax with Prestongrange (86), Aberlady (82) and Elphinstone (82) all still in the mix for the promotion honours. Haddington A is at the head of affairs in Division 3 going into the final week of action but second placed Ormiston are breathing down their necks and will hope to pounce on any slip-ups by the leaders. Its congratulations to all concerned at Cockenzie & Port Seton B after they were crowned champions of Division 4 with a game to spare. In the Thursday afternoon senior leagues it’s congratulations to the ‘auld yins’ at Tranent Bowling Club after they won the title honours in Division 1 with surprising relative ease.
So the stakes are massive for Tranent tonight (Friday) with the Division 1 leaders entering the final fixture with a four point lead so are huge odds-on favourites to capture blue riband title for a second time. They face a home clash with foot of the table Dunbar and five points or more will see them crowned champions. Haddington must do the business at home against East Linton then pray and hope that Dunbar can do them a massive favour. It is much the same scenario for third placed Cockenzie & Port Seton as they need to go for broke in their home clash with Gifford then hope for miraculous results coming in from Polson Park and Haddington. EL-Coop end their campaign with a home clash against Castlepark while Castlepark A play host to West Barns.
Just a reminder that 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.
On the international stage its congratulations to the EL-Coop duo of Megan Kivlin and Dean Riva after they were named in the Scotland Under 17 squad that will play England in a test match on September 20 at Gosforth. The side was selected following a trial match last Sunday at which EL-Coop’s David Young and Robbie Buchanan also participated but despite playing well both failed to make the final 26 man squad.
The first round action in the ELBA Top Ten (Jubilee Cup) on Monday evening saw defending champions West Barns clash with former national title winners Cockenzie & Port Seton and it was the seasiders who progressed through to the next round with a convincing 6-2 triumph. Division 2 side Prestongrange caused a major formbook upset as they took the scalp of Division 1 giants Haddington while Gifford, Tranent, Ormiston, Elphinstone, Athelstaneford and EL-Coop are all also through to this Monday night’s second round action. The draw for the second round is as follows: – Prestongrange v Gifford, Tranent v Ormiston, Elphinstone v Athelstaneford, EL-Coop v Cockenzie & Port. All matches commence at 6.30pm prompt.
Former world stage star Angus Blair continues to make his mark at his beloved Haddington and is celebrating a magnificent twelfth title success having produced a fine display of bowling to beat Andrew Dunleavey, 21-6, in the gents championship singles final. Steven Mackie is celebrating after he won the gent’s championship singles at EL-Coop for a first time having served up a superb performance to beat Craig Cochrane, 21-6, in the final. Megan Kivlin added another title to her ever growing impressive CV as the highly talented 14 year old became the youngest ever ladies champion after defeating defending champion Derryn McKillop, 21-8, while Duncan Hogg triumphed in the gents senior singles final after a 21-11 victory over Davie Arnott. Its congratulations to stalwart club member Kenny Donaldson after he became champion of Macmerry for the very first time after defeating Brian Maynard, 21-7, in the final. Reece Cochrane is a first time champion at Prestongrange after beating his father Robert, 21-16, in the final. The gent’s championship singles final at Cockenzie & Port Seton was being staged last night (Thursday) and featured seven times champion Derek Oliver against recent new club recruit Colin Leishman.
Gifford Bowling & Sports Club is staging a Top Four tournament on Saturday September 5th and entries are now being accepted by phoning 01620 810517.