East Lothian’s defence of the indoor bowls Premier League title got off to a winning start with an impressive 90-65 away victory over Paisley.
Wins on the rinks skipped by Derek Oliver, Graham Robertson and Alex Marshall MBE combined to give EL a handsome winning margin despite a double-figure setback for Joe Mower.
Paisley – champions themselves as recently as 2015 – are no pushovers at home and, with East Lothian handicapped by the enforced absence of international duo Scott Kennedy and Jamie Higgins, the away fixture represented a tough challenge.
And East Lothian concerns were further heightened by a late call-off from one of their skips Billy Mellors.
A reshuffled line-up included Robertson moving up to skip and Jamie Gordon plucked off the reserve bench to play second.
Oliver emerged the EL high-flyer with the 2018 Commonwealth Games-bound bowler turning in an ace performance to skip Calum Darling, Jamie Gordon and Willie Wood MBE into an 11-3 lead then onto a 28-8 win over fellow cap Callum Taggart.
Robertson delivered the main support with the veteran of 87 caps piloting Mark Johnston, David Sked and Dean Riva to a 28-14 win over David Perrit.
Marshall and his rink of Ross Thomson, Ewan Fallen and Stewart Thomson endured tougher times but battled to a 19-14 win over Graeme Sloan while Mower and his front three of Andrew Jeffrey, Dougie Berwick, and Glenn Blair were always toiling in a 29-15 defeat by David Fisher.
Meanwhile, Bainfield fired up the spirits of the Edinburgh camp with an encouraging 80-64 win at Coatbridge.
Bathgate-based Balbardie’s drop down from the Premier League to Division 1 South was marked by an alarming 87-67 defeat at home to West of Scotland.
The ladies action in the East Premier Division saw East Lothian beat East Fife 84-67 at Meadowmill, while Midlothian romped to a 99-64 victory away to Abbeyview (Dunfermline).