East Lothian begin Premier League defence with win

Graham Robertson inspired a win as skip
Graham Robertson inspired a win as skip
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East Lothian’s defence of the indoor bowls Premier League title got off to a winning start with an impressive 90-65 away victory over Paisley.

Wins on the rinks skipped by Derek Oliver, Graham Robertson and Alex Marshall MBE combined to give EL a handsome winning margin despite a double-figure setback for Joe Mower.

Paisley – champions themselves as recently as 2015 – are no pushovers at home and, with East Lothian handicapped by the enforced absence of international duo Scott Kennedy and Jamie Higgins, the away fixture represented a tough challenge.

And East Lothian concerns were further heightened by a late call-off from one of their skips Billy Mellors.

A reshuffled line-up included Robertson moving up to skip and Jamie Gordon plucked off the reserve bench to play second.

Oliver emerged the EL high-flyer with the 2018 Commonwealth Games-bound bowler turning in an ace performance to skip Calum Darling, Jamie Gordon and Willie Wood MBE into an 11-3 lead then onto a 28-8 win over fellow cap Callum Taggart.

Robertson delivered the main support with the veteran of 87 caps piloting Mark Johnston, David Sked and Dean Riva to a 28-14 win over David Perrit.

Marshall and his rink of Ross Thomson, Ewan Fallen and Stewart Thomson endured tougher times but battled to a 19-14 win over Graeme Sloan while Mower and his front three of Andrew Jeffrey, Dougie Berwick, and Glenn Blair were always toiling in a 29-15 defeat by David Fisher.

Meanwhile, Bainfield fired up the spirits of the Edinburgh camp with an encouraging 80-64 win at Coatbridge.

Bathgate-based Balbardie’s drop down from the Premier League to Division 1 South was marked by an alarming 87-67 defeat at home to West of Scotland.

The ladies action in the East Premier Division saw East Lothian beat East Fife 84-67 at Meadowmill, while Midlothian romped to a 99-64 victory away to Abbeyview (Dunfermline).