Bowls: East Lothian march into Scottish Cup semi-finals

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East Lothian gents marched into the semi-finals of the indoor bowls Scottish Cup with a commanding 87-52 victory over Balbardie at Dunfermline venue Abbeyview.

Wins on all four rinks – skipped by Jamie Higgins, Billy Mellors, Derek Oliver and team captain Scott Kennedy – kept alive EL’s hopes of a sixth success in 11 years.

Whilst the first of the three seven-end phases was fiercely contested, the opening honours were captured by East Lothian 29-21.

The next three ends were game-changers in the shape of a 5-2, 9-1, 5-0 acceleration from East Lothian that increased their match lead from eight to 24 with the master scoreboard now showing 48-24 in their favour.

The second phase was duly dominated 28-16 by the stars from the Garden County and their supremacy was confirmed by a 30-15 grip of the third.

The rink scores were: Scott Kennedy 27, Sandy McDougall 12; Jamie Higgins 22, Jim Speirs 10; Billy Mellors 25, Walter McDougall 18; Derek Oliver 13, Ewan Shearer 12.

Midlothian’s most recent capture of the cup was in 2004 – they lost the 2009 final – but hopes of a 2016 triumph were lifted by an encouraging performance to beat quarter-final opponents Turriff 90-56 at Dundee.

Billy Peacock produced the headline performance with a 21-shot victory that was supported by a ten and three-shot contribution from Danny McDougall and AJ Knight respectively while David Peacock finished peels.

West Lothian’s disastrous season – they were relegated from the Premier League – could yet finish with a much-needed bit of shine as the cup holders beat Division 2 opposition Elgin 78-64 at Aberdeen.