East Lothian hero Willie Wood rolls back the years

Willie Wood, and pictured below returning from thr Commonwealth Games in 1978
Willie Wood, and pictured below returning from thr Commonwealth Games in 1978
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The elite bowlers of East Lothian IBC served up a strong winning performance against Lanarkshire to jump from third to finish top of the table in the B section of the Premier League.

To make it happen EL had to beat the section leaders and hope that Ardrossan would then do them a massive favour by defeating Falkirk.

The double result required did come to pass with EL hitting top form to slam Lanarkshire 100-67, while Ardrossan dashed the Falkirk dream with a convincing 81-58 home win.

Ardrossan had to settle for second place with an inferior shot margin bank of 143.

The final placing being East Lothian 13 (+150), Ardrossan 13 (+7), Lanarkshire 12 (+88), Falkirk 12 (+68), Paisley 8 (-111), Arbroath 2 (-202).

East Lothian have etched their name on the blue riband club trophy of the sport on six previous occasions and will now go head-to-head for a seventh against joint record holders and defending champions West Lothian at Auchinleck on Saturday, 15 February.

“Alex Marshall was a high-profile absentee for us, but we had a strong belief we could topple Lanarkshire with home advantage however the size of that challenge was heightened when ace skip Derek Oliver turned up nursing a leg injury,” reflected team captain Billy Mellors.

The EL selectors promoted 75-year-old legend Willie Wood MBE to replace Oliver and he skipped Ewan Fallen, Gary Darling, and Graham Robertson while Oliver was swapped to play third to Colin Cook, Jamie Gordon, and Scott Kennedy. Winning performances from the rinks skipped by 75-year-old legend Willie Wood MBE, Scott Kennedy and Mellors kept EL on the front foot for the duration of the match, while the defeat of Jamie Higgins was contained to a single-figure margin.

Wood was in his element as he emerged the local hero to skip his rink to an inspirational 26-7 win over Robert Gordon.

Kennedy also rose to the occasion with a forceful display to skip his rink to a splendid 32-17 win that suppressed the leadership qualities of opposition icon figure Robert Grant.

Mellors and his rink of Kieran Simants, Dougie Berwick and Andrew Jeffrey was more hard pressed on occasions, but found the answer to most of the questions asked of them to score a battling 22-16 win over John Simpson.

Higgins and his front-three of Mark Johnston, Steven Morgan and Stewart Thomson suffered a nightmare start that included the loss of an 8 to trail 18-1, but staged a spirited revival to settle for a 27-20 defeat from Henry Smith.

“Our cake could only be iced by the defeat of Falkirk, and Ardrossan did us that massive favour,” concluded Mellors.