East Lothian passed up their chance to go top of the B Division of the gents indoor bowls premier league when failing to live up to expectations on their visit to Falkirk and suffering a disappointing 28 shot defeat (89-61) from the leaders.
The result pushes Falkirk four points clear of surprise package Ayr, and also an East Lothian team anxious to break a frustrating lean spell and return to the hey days of 2006/7/8/9 when crowned premier league champions four years in a row. There are three fixtures to fulfil after The Christmas Break and EL have the strength on paper to pressure the leaders by delivering home wins over Aberdeen and Bainfield and an away win over foot of the table Abbeyview.
“We feel we can find the form levels needed to register a hat trick of wins on the run in, it’s a tall order to expect Falkirk to stumble twice but they do face testing away challenges against Ayr, Bainfield, and Aberdeen”, explained team captain Scott Kennedy. Given that EL had eight figures of strong international status within their ranks it was an anti climax outcome that they left Falkirk with an success on any of the four rinks, the best they had to offer being a peel for Billy Mellors.
“There is no quibble that the best team won on the day “, reflected Kennedy who was a losing skip along with Derek Oliver and Jamie Higgins. The phase scoring highlights the middle phase as the chief cause of failure with EL edged out 23-15 on the first and 25-24 on the third but suffering a hefty 41-22 collapse on the second. Higgins and his rink of Mal Higgenbotham, Jamie Gordon, and Stewart Thomson suffered most of the punishment including the loss of a six at end 14 as they crashed to a 27-7 defeat from Steven Allan.
Kennedy and his front-three of Mark Johnston, Glenn Blair, and Gary Darling were always in strong contention from 10-16 onwards and stood peels at 17-17 before conceding a five that cost them a 22-17 defeat from former colleague Steven Glen. Oliver and his rink of Ewan Fallen, Andy Burt, and Graham Robertson were also never far off the pace but handicapped by the loss of a five at end 14 went on to suffer a 20-17 defeat from Gary Flynn. Mellors skipped Joe Mower, Andy Jeffrey, and Willie Wood MBE into a 15-12 lead after 15-ends and almost managed to win but dropping a single at the last saw them held to a 20-20 peel by John McHutchison.
Meanwhile the ladies from The Alex Marshall Arena scored a resounding 33 shot victory (67-41) at home to Tweedbank and that keeps them in the driving seat of Division 1C with a lead that is two points and a massive 232 shots strong over second placed Balbardie.