Bowls: Wily Wood to the fore as East Lothian land Pairs title

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Willie WOOD MBE brought more national title glory to East Lothian when the 74-year-old skipped former cap Mark 
Johnston to victory in the Scottish Two-Bowl Pairs Championship.

The Garden County’s name was etched on the silverware for the first time after wins over Blantyre and Midlothian.

Blantyre duo Alex Kelly and last season’s national singles champion Iain McLean were favourites to land the title but were restricted to a couple of doubles as Johnston and Wood dominated the opening set of their semi to win it 9-4.

The dramatic second set was on a knife-edge at 5-5 before the East Lothian duo completed their eclipse of the opposition stars with a single to clinch the match in straight sets.

The final was given added spice by way of a local derby clash against Scott Matthews and Ian Brown of Midlothian.

East Lothian had assumed the mantle of title favourites and demonstrated why by winning the first set 10-2 with an end to play. Midlothian mounted a strong revival to win the second set 7-2 and give the crowded banking a third-set decider.

Wood, as he has done so often over the years, rose to the challenge in magnificent style to skip Johnston to a spectacular 10-1 triumph that clinched the title by 2 sets to 1.

Midlothian suffered a second major disappointment with the dramatic 21-20 defeat of Stacey Laidlaw in the Junior Singles final by 14-year-old sensation Carrie McLean of Auchinleck. Dalkeith star Laidlaw, 22, had beaten defending champion Lesley Gordon of East Fife in her semi final.

The Edinburgh and Lothians interest in the Ladies Singles proper saw Balbardie IBC champion Sharon Leitch do the Bathgate club’s banner proud despite losing her semi-final 21-15 to five-times winner Julie Forrest of Teviotdale.

Forrest went on to capture the title for a sixth time, defeating Michelle Cooper of Ardrossan, 21-10 in the final.