Bowls: Scintillating East Lothian ladies cruise into top spot

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East LOTHIAN ladies are celebrating a dramatic turn of events that saw them finish top of the table in Division 1C of the national indoor bowls league.

Having been tucked in third place, just two points behind section leaders West Lothian and Portobello, East Lothian put their undefeated home record on the line against West and duly delivered with a spectacular 38-shot victory.

The 105-67 result meant that East Lothian finished equal on points with their visitors but thanks to a massive shot-margin advantage they went above them in the table but to reach the knockout stage needed Portobello to fall at Teviotdale.

The defeat of West Lothian meant that Portobello would fall heir to the section honours if managing to take at least one point from their visit to Hawick but Teviotdale had a strong home record suggesting the visitors had it all to do.

And sure enough, the home team led from start to finish. In a dramatic climax that saw Portobello holding four shots for victory, national singles legend Julie Forrest killed the lot with a brilliant last-bowl draw.

“We had trailed all the way but had kept ourselves in contention so to see victory and the rewards that it would bring snatched from us in such a traumatic fashion was painful to say the least,” said an observer from Portobello.

The news that Portobello had lost 75-71 was instantly transmitted to Tranent and it sparked excited celebrations from a now jubilant East Lothian team.

“I cannot praise my team highly enough as they coped with the pressure to put on a brilliant display against the leaders and we were in total command from start to finish but new at that stage the job was only half done,” said team manager Sheena Currie.

East Lothian hit the ground running with a 13-0 blitz on the first end and that put them in the ascendancy to dominate the first seven-end phase 44-15 although it is much to the credit of West Lothian that the follow on scores of 32-28 and 29-24 show they didn’t collapse.

Janet Fairnie opened with a sizzling 6 then fired Margaret McGowan, Agnes McLeod and Yvonne Veitch into a 19-2 lead that was duly converted into a 32-6 triumph over Ann Clark.

Emma Brown contributed the main support as the young full Scotland cap included inspiring counts of 4, 5, 6 and 7 as she skipped Margaret Devine, Irene Combe and Mary Hamilton to a 32-19 success over Jenifer Richardson.

Nancy McNeil produced a run of 7, 1, 2 to skip Jean Rutherford, Alicia Irvine and Nicola Thompson into a 21-16 lead but in a tight finish settled for a 22-22 peel with Wendy Purdie.

West Lothian did manage to get one win on the board when Jennifer Sneddon conjured up a magic 3 at the last to pip Diane Rowan 20-19.