East Lothian may have hit top form just a shade too late to book a place in the playoff final of the indoor bowls premier league but they have kept the door interestingly open with a nail biting three shot victory (65-62) over B section leaders Aberdeen.Read more
Aberdeen arrived at the Meadowmill stadium near Tranent as the undefeated leaders after six games played and defending a commanding six point lead over an East Lothian team that had lost their opening three fixtures. “We were damaged goods at that stage of our campaign and being written off as serious contenders to win the B section but having turned the corner to win our next three there was a strong feeling in our camp that we had the momentum to make it four at the expense of the leaders”, said team captain Mark Johnston. East Lothian now sit in second place – albeit joint with Paisley – going into the Festive Season break and there is inspiring confidence within the camp that wins in the New Year at home to Lanarkshire, away to Falkirk, and at home to Ardrossan, are highly possible to deliver. “It will take a hat trick of wins for us to be a threat to Aberdeen who can only throw it away really and should win at home to Lanarkshire but may feel the pressure on their visits to Ardrossan and Paisley”, added Johnston. Wins on the rinks skipped by Jamie Higgins and Derek Oliver and a peel for Billy Mellors reflected a spirited team effort for an East Lothian team that coped with the narrow setback suffered by Scott Kennedy. “We didn’t expect it to be easy against the undefeated league leaders and it did turn out to be an epic battle fought out on a tightrope situation but I had asked the guys for a maximum effort and they delivered with a resolute performance”. Higgins is revelling in the challenge of skipping in place of the unavailable Alex Marshall and on this occasion grabbed the limelight as the main contributor albeit his winning margin in the company of Mark Johnston, Calum Darling, and Andrew Jeffrey was just by 4 shots over Gary Forbes. Oliver plays with the confidence of a player that has 18 caps to his name – an ever present for Scotland since his debut in 2009 – and abilities under pressure were in evidence as he skipped Gary Muir, Andy Burt, and Graham Robertson to a 19-16 win over Mike Stephen. Mellors – formerly of the now sadly defunct Edinburgh IBC – is also a giant of the national scene and a totally focused performance saw him skip Calvert Allison, Dougie Berwick, and Willie wood MBE to a battling 16-16 peel with Alan McKay. Kennedy – who has earned 42 caps to date – and his rink of Lessel Middler, Gary Darling, and Stuart Thomson failed to fire at their best in the opening stages and trailed 11-3 but refused to fold and restricted the damage to a 14-10 defeat from Eric Gallan. The B section table after 7 games played reads as follows, Aberdeen 12 (+85), East Lothian 8 (+42), Paisley 8 (+31), Falkirk 6 (-67), Lanarkshire 4 (-24), Ardrossan 4 (-67).