The first round of the indoor bowls Scottish Cup saw joint record holding five times champions East Lothian complete an impressive 99-56 victory over Ardrossan at Coatbridge.
Ardrossan had shaped up as dangerous opposition having captured the Division 1F title in the recently completed national leagues but their Premier League opponents had their measure on all four rinks.
Willie Wood and Derek Oliver led the charge by skipping their respective rinks to commanding 14-shot triumphs, while Billy Mellors supported with a win of nine shots and Scott Kennedy won by eight.
The “Garden County” now face Division 1 Turriff at Forfar this weekend and make two changes with Alan Young and Stewart Thomson forming a front-end for Graham Robertson and Derek Oliver.
Mellors skips Gary Muir, Jamie Gordon and Andrew Jeffrey while Kieran Simants, Gary Darling and Jamie Higgins form the front-three for Scott Kennedy and Wood is at the helm for Mark Johnston, Stevie Thomson and Dougie Berwick.
West Lothian are the other five times winners and last season’s losing finalists launched their campaign with a 100-47 triumph over Balbardie, crushing their neighbour club at Bainfield. A solid team performance saw WL punish their Division 1 opposition on all four rinks with Mark Allison defeating Ewan Shearer, Neil Speirs successful against Walter McDougall, Calum Logan beating Gerry Duggan, and Thomas Mann defeating Sandy McDougall.
Meanwhile, Ewan Shearer came within a fraction of taking Balbardie IBC through to the second round of the Scottish Team Championship with his last-gasp effort just shaving the jack as he was tried to move it four inches for a count of three.
“I had to settle for a single to skip my sister Morven to a 22-20 victory in the Pairs and although that secured the points for a 4-4 share with Headwell we lost the shot count by a frustrating 77-75,” described the star Bo’ness bowler.
The significance of Shearer’s brave effort is that a 3 would have tied the aggregate giving match victory to Balbardie because of Sandy McDougall having defeated Ian Humble (Queensferry Outdoor player) 21-13 in the Singles.
East Lothian were pipped 72-70 on shot aggregate after drawing 4-4 with Falkirk at Headwell.