Bowls: Veteran Wood leads East Lothian into Cup quarters

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East Lothian IBC is being well-served by their Seniors brigade of bowlers this season, with 73-year-old Willie Wood and colleagues having followed up their recent title triumph in the national league final with a commanding win over East Fife in the second round of the Scottish Cup played at Dalkeith.

Having captured the League title for an admirable fifth time, the driving ambition for East Lothian now is to complete a treble in the Cup having already etched their name on the silverware in 2003 and 2006.

The Dalkeith stadium is familiar territory for the highly acclaimed senior stars of the Garden County and having got their nose in front as early as the second end they never looked back, serving up a strong performance to win 74-53.

It was by no means one-way traffic however, as it needed double-figure triumphs for the rinks skipped by their top personality figures Jock Brodie and Wood to cover the setbacks inflicted on John Holmes and Frankie Gray.

The phase scoring though confirms the grip East Lothian had on the opposition with their 26-18 advantage on the first six ends consolidated by a 25-23 edge on the second then enhanced by a 23-12 domination of the five-end run in.

Wood emerged the star of the show, skipping John Hogg Ross McGuire, and Tom Young to a spectacular 26-8 win over Ian Moir having benefited from a purple patch run of 2, 2, 3, 3, 1 (1), 4, 1, 1, from 9-4 to 26-5. Brodie – like Wood a former Evening News Champion of Champions – lifted the spirits of his rink with a mighty 5 at the seventh end and he went on to skip Jim Neilson, George McLean, and Brian Bissett to a 21-10 win over Robert White.

A third rink success did hang in the balance for East Lothian with John Holmes and his front-three of Arthur Duncan, Billy Higgins, and John Hamilton standing 20-20 before East Fife skip Dave Leitch tipped the scales 22-20 in his favour.

A second hard fought battle saw Dave Watson of East Fife inflict a 13-7 defeat on Eric Denholm, George Marshall, Jimmy Smith, and Gray.

East Lothian will step up their Cup campaign against Dunfermline club Abbeyview in the quarter-final tie at Portobello this Wednesday coming.

The recent final of the Seniors League saw East Lothian turn in a high-octane performance to score an explosive 83-46 victory over Lanarkshire up at Fraserburgh with good wins delivered on three of the four rinks.

Jock Brodie emerged the highest-flyer having made a blitz start to lead 15-0 then skip his rink to a 26-9 win over A Whytelaw while Willie Wood skipped his rink into a 14-1 comfort zone before going on to beat Jim Keating, 20-8.

Team captain Frankie Gray made a big impression with a 5 at the eighth end and went on to skip his rink to a 24-13 success over Willie Crooks while John Holmes was always in touch but lost 16-13 to Peter Smellie.