MIDLOTHIAN capped their best campaign for a long time in the East section of the Cities & Counties bowls Championship by capturing the second qualifying place with victory over East Lothian in a winner-takes-all clash at Port Seton.
The visitors even handed out a start to their more illustrious opponents but staged a strong fight back and storming finish to triumph 125-93.
East Lothian, champions in 2003 and 2005 and runners-up in 2007 and 2009, are always expected to be knocking on the door in this major event on the national calendar but their three skips of international reputation were unable to deliver with Midlothian dishing out defeat to Alister Kennedy and Willie Wood, while holding Alex Marshall to a peel. Midlothian also beat the rinks skipped by Steven Morgan and Derek Oliver leaving Jamie Higgins as the only home skip to win.
The four trail-blazing skips for Midlothian were Colin Walker, George Yuill, John Stevenson and David Peacock, while Craig Hodge finished peels and Jim Gibson lost. East Lothian held a double-figure lead reaching towards 20 at one stage but were only 39-36 after the first even ends. Midlothian picked up and won the second seven ends 39-26 and they extended their advantage to 50-28 after three phases.
Walker was the pacesetter for Midlothian as he raced into a 19-3 lead after 15 ends and went on to skip Ronnie Duncan, Andrew Kelly and Lindsay Plenderleith to a 24-7 win over Kennedy. Yuill did the business to skip Calum Crawford, Neil Melrose and Stuart Douglas into a 13-5 lead over Oliver which was converted into a 21-12 victory.
Stevenson was in deep trouble at 13-6 down to Morgan but suddenly clicked into gear and skipped Andrew Buerle, Scott Runciman and Steven Currie to a 24-16 triumph having counted at nine of the remaining 11 ends.
Peacock made a difference with a mighty 5 at the ninth end to lead 10-6 and he kept doing enough to skip Tom Moffat, Jim Farquhar and Scott Briggs to a 22-14 win over Wood.
Hodge was 12-3 down at one stage so did extremely well to skip Eddie Adams, John Tod and Stuart Roseburgh to a 17-17 peel with Marshall.
Jamie Higgins spared the EL blushes by skipping Kenny McCrorie, Ewan Fallen and Billy Dunleavey to a 27-17 win over Robert Trench, Jamie Mitchell Ramsay Blair and Gibson.