Bowls: Lothians fail in bid to reach national final

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Hopes that the respective Four-Bowl Pairs champions of East Lothian Indoor Bowls Club and Midlothian IBC would mount a serious challenge for the national title fell by the wayside in the playdown action at Stirling IBC.

The representation from both clubs was top-notch with bowls legend Willie Wood MBE skipping former cap Mark Johnston for East Lothian while current international players Ronnie Duncan and Colin Walker lined up for Midlothian.

East Lothian had a bye into the first round proper and the Johnston/Wood partnership produced a strong performance to beat their Galleon counterparts 25-10 and set up a second- round confrontation with Inverclyde.

It was a game East Lothian were favourites to win but the form book didn’t work out with Inverclyde dishing out a 20-10 defeat over Johnston and Wood.

Meanwhile, Midlothian opened in the prelim round with a tough-looking match against Lanarkshire but Duncan and Walker raised hopes with a commanding display to triumph 25-13.

Prestwick provided the opposition in the first round proper and that brought star Paul Foster into the picture with the World Singles champion skipping Alex Adrain in another strongly-fancied partnership.

Midlothian suffered a 21-14 defeat but consolation in some shape did come with the Prestwick duo then edging a 23-21 win over Coatbridge and a 19-18 thriller over Inverclyde to book their place in the semi-finals.

The Prestwick champions will meet Norman Baker and Mike Stepney of Elgin in the last four stage at Coatbridge IBC on March 31 while the other title contenders are Chris Stein and Wayne Hogg of East Fife against Hugh McAvoy and Tom Simpson of Cumbernauld.

Meanwhile, on the domestic front, at the West Lothian IBC the final of the Senior Triples played at the Inveralmond Stadium, Livingston, developed into a nail-biting climax over a hard-fought, 12-end match.

Alex Buchan skipped Bill Tait and Bill Gorrie into a 10-6 lead when carding a 3 at end nine but just held on as opponents Charlie Gray, Brian Holloran and George Marshall produced a 1, 1, 1 finish to 9.