East Lothian passed up their chance to go top of the B Division of the gents indoor bowls Premier League when suffering a disappointing 89-61 defeat at leaders Falkirk.
The result pushes Falkirk four points clear of surprise package Ayr, and also an East Lothian team anxious to break a frustrating lean spell and return to the peak of 2006/7/8/9 when crowned champions four years in a row.
There are three fixtures to fulfil after Christmas and EL have the strength on paper to pressure the leaders by delivering home wins over Aberdeen and Bainfield and an away win over bottom club Abbeyview.
“We feel we can find the form levels needed to register a hat-trick of wins on the run in. It’s a tall order to expect Falkirk to stumble twice but they do face testing away challenges against Ayr, Bainfield, and Aberdeen,” said team captain Scott Kennedy.
Given that EL had eight capped players within their ranks, it was a disappointment that the best they could achieve was a peel for Billy Mellors.
“There is no quibble that the best team won,” said Kennedy who was a losing skip along with Derek Oliver and Jamie Higgins.
The phase scoring highlights the middle phase as the chief cause of failure with EL who collapsed to a 41-22 defeat after losing the first end 23-15. They improved during the final phase but lost it 25-24.
Higgins and his rink of Mal Higgenbotham, Jamie Gordon and Stewart Thomson suffered most of the punishment including the loss of a six at end 14 as they crashed to a 27-7 defeat from Steven Allan.
Kennedy and his front-three of Mark Johnston, Glenn Blair and Gary Darling were always in strong contention from 10-16 onwards and stood 17-17 before conceding a five that cost them a 22-17 defeat from former colleague Steven Glen.
Oliver and his rink of Ewan Fallen, Andy Burt and Graham Robertson were also never far off the pace but, handicapped by the loss of a five at end 14, went on to suffer a 20-17 defeat from Gary Flynn.
Mellors skipped Joe Mower, Andy Jeffrey and Wood into a 15-12 lead after 15 ends and almost managed to win but dropped a single at the last for a 20-20 peel with John McHutchison.
Meanwhile, East Lothian Ladies scored a resounding 67-41 win at home to Tweedbank that keeps them in the driving seat of Division 1C with a lead that is two points and a massive 232 shots better over second placed Balbardie.