East Lothian gents’ dream of securing an indoor bowls double were ended by a shock Scottish Cup defeat against Fraserburgh.
EL will line up in the Premier League play-off final on February 25 against Falkirk at Turriff and hopes were high they could also clinch a record-extending eighth cup success.
They headed to their first-round tie against Division 2 outfit Fraserburgh at Arbroath as hot favourites and trophy holders but suffered a crushing 8-2 points loss.
Massive underdogs Fraserburgh inflicted defeat on the EL rinks skipped by Graham Robertson, Scott Kennedy and Mark Johnston.
East Lothian lost out on the aggregate score and only avoided the humiliation of a total whitewash with their young rink of Calum Darling, Lewis Betts, Glenn Blair and Joe Mower turning in a winning performance.
“I can’t put my finger on why we underperformed on three of our rinks but all credit must go to Fraserburgh, who played out of their skins from start to finish and fully deserved the win,” reflected team captain Robertson.
The East Lothian exit came hard on the heels of their much-lauded Seniors team making a surprise exit to Abbeyview in Round one of their Scottish Cup, the three-times former cup winners losing 6-4 on points on neutral territory at Livingston.
The Scottish Cup proper saw Bainfield carry the Capital city banner into the second round with a 7-3 win over Cumbernauld at Blantyre and they were joined by a West Lothian IBC team that crushed Allander 9-1 at Fintry.
Balbardie joined EL on the sidelines, though, with the Bathgate-based team bowing out to a 6-4 defeat from Abbeyview after a hard-fought battle at Falkirk.
Wins for the rinks skipped by Gary Orr (22-16) and Ewan Shearer (23-21) kept Balbardie in the picture but the defeat of Walter McDougall (31-9) and Sandy McDougall (19-14) tipped the match-aggregate scales in the 87-68 favour of the Fifers.