Bowls: Midlothian skip to a derby win over rivals East Lothian

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Midlothian bowlers caused an upset in the opening match of the Cities and Counties Championship (East section) when their depleted team scored a commanding 127-103 victory over defending champions East Lothian at Port Seton.

It was a victory all the more impressive because Midlothian were missing ace players David Peacock, Graeme Archer, Ronnie Duncan and Willie Rankin. East Lothian were without key figures Alex Marshall and Willie Wood.

Midlothian enjoyed wins on four rinks skipped by Colin McFarlane, Colin Walker, Jim Gibson and Ramsay Blair.

“We lost the first end 9-0 and I worried that it was a bad omen, however, we usually have fire in our bellies against our illustrious neighbours and sure enough we bounced back with an incredible 17-1 reply on the second end,” said Midlothian team boss Frank Gray. “Colin (McFarlane) set us alight with a magnificent count of 7 and, having hit the front, we were never crossed by the national champions and led all the way to the finishing line.”

Midlothian captured the first seven-end phase, 40-32, then the second, 41-38, before rubbing salt into the East Lothian wounds with a 46-33 domination of the third.

However, Midlothian were 18 up after five ends and 30 up after ten ends but on both occasions were pegged back to match leads of only eight and 11 by determined fight backs from the home side.

McFarlane proved to be the major thorn in the EL flesh as he skipped Brian Yuill, Ryan Yuill and Scott Briggs into an 11-1 lead then on to a truly inspired 27-9 victory over Matt Osbourne, Jamie Gordon, David Oliver and Derek Oliver.

Walker picked up the pace from 12-10 down to capture seven of the remaining eight ends and skip Jamie Mitchell, Stuart Douglas and Tom Beattie to a 21-15 win over Derek Lowe, Calum Gordon, Brian Bird and Brian Young.

Gibson was helped by three counts of 4 as he skipped Andrew Wilston, Mark Yuill and Kevin McDougall to a 27-22 win over Alister Kennedy while Tom Moffat, Jim Farquhar, Steven Currie and Ramsay Blair edged a 19-17 win over Steven Morgan.

East Lothian’s Craig Valentine beat Craig Hodge, 20-15, and Jim Pringle enjoyed a last gasp 20-18 success over John Stevenson.