East Lothian are in seventh heaven with title triumph

The victorious East Lothian line-up
The victorious East Lothian line-up
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East Lothian’s capture of the indoor bowls Premier League title for a magnificent seventh time was the reward for an awesome team performance in a 98-65 play-off final victory against Falkirk at Turriff.

Wins on three rinks – skipped by Derek Oliver, Scott Kennedy and Alex Marshall MBE – gave East Lothian victory while the only minor setback came in a single-shot defeat for Billy Mellors.

Team captain Graham Robertson reflected: “We introduced three juniors into a squad of 22 at the start of the season and every player played their part in getting us through to the final. There is strength throughout the entire team.”

Falkirk did show their mettle with the match wide open after eight ends (27-25) and the 13-end score of 48-40 wasn’t a comfort zone.

End 14 was the game-changing moment with Oliver and Mellors each carding a mighty five shots that gave EL an 11-1 advantage across the carpet – and a leap into an 18-shot lead (59-41).

The phase scoring reflects a keenly-contested first seven ends, edged 25-21 by East Lothian team who then enjoyed a 34-20 acceleration on the second.

The highlight of a 39-24 dominance of the final phase was a spectacular 17-2 contribution from the fast-finishing rink skipped by Oliver.

Oliver and his rink of Mark Johnston, Willie Wood MBE and Graham Robertson were 13-7 down to Steven Allan but hit back with a run of 5, 3, 2, 2, 5 (2), 2, 3 to win 29-15.

Kennedy and his front three of Andrew Jeffrey, Dougie Berwick and Glenn Blair added 3, 1, 1, to lead 14-5 then traded determinedly on the margin to score a good 24-14 win over Gary Flynn.

Marshall skipped Ross Thomson, Stuart Thomson and Jamie Higgins to a 25-15 win over former EL star Steven Glen.

Mellors and his rink of Calum Darling, Lewis Betts and Joe Mower cruised into a promising 17-9 lead over John McHutchison but were pipped 21-20 having suffered damaging losses that included a run of 5, 2, 2.

East Lothian join West Lothian and the now-defunct Edinburgh on the seven-title mark. Prestwick lead the way with ten triumphs to their name.