East LOTHIAN kept the qualifying race wide open in Section A of the indoor bowls Premier League by inflicting a first defeat on West Lothian when the teams clashed at Tranent in the fourth fixture of the ten-match campaign.
The clash was billed as Scotland’s match of the day, with West Lothian fired up by the prospect of widening the gap at the top of the table and East Lothian driven by a desire to win and remain in touch.
West Lothian played exceptionally well to win on three rinks but East Lothian triumphed overall with a 72-68 victory courtesy of Alex Marshall.
“Tattie [Alex] was our outstanding star of the match as he was in spectacular form to more than cover our three setbacks by skipping Mark Johnston John Stevenson and Andrew Jeffrey to a sizeable 14-shot triumph,” said a spokesman for East Lothian.
Marshall had fellow cap and WL captain Thomas Mann to cope with and he did so in the shape of restricting the visitors to six shots – four singles and a double – and banking 20 for his own rink.
West Lothian started the match brightly but East fought back to leave the scores locked at 55-55. Scott Kennedy, who at 16-2 then 18-6 down and had been struggling to cope with the rink of Stewart McMaster, Scott Logan, David Wilson, and Neil Speirs, proved to be a major influence in these final exchanges. When the chips were down Kennedy came good to skip Colin Cook, Dougie Berwick, and Alan Young to an 8-1 finish that curtailed their defeat to 19-14.
However with Alex Marshall putting out an East Lothian call for help it was his fellow MBE Willie Wood that first came to the rescue with the bowls legend storming back against Calum Logan. Logan had skipped Richard Mark, Blair Mackie and Des Hagart into a 15-5 lead before Wood fired up the match to include two 3s and a 6 as he skipped Chris Fallen, David Oliver and Stevie Thomson to a 20-19 defeat which was really an exercise in damage limitation.
Graham Robertson also joined in the EL revival act as from 13-9 down he skipped Neil Pringle, Brian Wyllie and Jamie Higgins into a 16-13 lead before giving 23-19 best to Paul Lynas, Raymond Logan, Bryan Cooper and Mark Allison.