East LOTHIAN IBC have dominated the national indoor bowls scene in recent seasons but the giants of the sport suffered a horrendous defeat when ripped apart by Falkirk in the first round proper of the Scottish Cup at neutral venue Dalkeith.
The team from the Garden County were the inaugural Cup winners in 1989 then celebrated victories in 2006, 2007, 2010 and 2011 and held a strong ambition to complete a hat-trick in 2012.
Falkirk are minnows in comparison with no real legacy of heritage to boast about, however, they have been a revelation this season having dominated the B section of the Premier League before losing to West Lothian in the recent final.
It was Falkirk’s first season in the Premier League but they sent shockwaves around the indoor scene when finishing top of a section that had defending champions Midlothian and giants Lanarkshire among their victims.
So they arrived at the Midlothian venue with confidence riding high albeit conscious that they had a team of superstars to conquer which included Willie Wood MBE, Alex Marshall MBE and current Scotland captain Graham Robertson.
Falkirk’s Simon Thomson emerged the outstanding figure as he skipped his rink to a spectacular victory that was supported by wins for Tom Cochrane and Gary Flynn.
The final result was a 98-55 triumph for a Falkirk team whose only setback was an extremely narrow defeat of Steven Glen by Marshall.
The phase scoring shows Falkirk blitzing East Lothian 45-17 over the first seven ends then answering a modest 29-24 reversal on the second with a 29-9 command of the third.
Marshall brought consolation to East Lothian by skipping Colin Cook, Stevie Thomson and Andrew Jeffrey to a 17-15 win over Glen but had to fight back from 16-3 down.
Meanwhile, Thomson was setting the Falkirk challenge alight by skipping his rink to a 29-7 win over a demoralised Ewen Fallen, Dougie Berwick, Jamie Higgins and Derek Oliver.
And more pain for East Lothian came with the 26-14 demise of Mark Johnston, John Stevenson, Scott Kennedy and Wood at the hands of Tom Cochrane who had the opposition under the cosh at 17-4 after nine ends.
More salt was rubbed into the East Lothian wounds when the rink of Lessel Middler, Derek Lowe, Alan Young and Robertson went 15-2 behind after six ends and eventually crashed to a 28-17 defeat from Flynn.