East Lothian march on to Premier League national finals

Alex Marshall was instrumental in helping East Lothian to pip their West neighbours
Alex Marshall was instrumental in helping East Lothian to pip their West neighbours
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East Lothian bowlers continue to stay in the national limelight with both the ladies and men’s teams set to parade their skills in the finals of the national Premier Leagues.

The ladies – under the management of Gordon Pryde – scaled the heights to defeat reigning national champions Auchinleck (82-76) at Cumbernauld and will line up in their first-ever PL final against Glasgow at Whiteinch on Saturday week.

The rink scores were: Dee Hoggan 27-13; Lauren Baillie 24-15; Emma Logan 20-19; Janette Fairley 11-29.

The Men – under the captaincy of Dougie Berwick – have reached the play-off final in sensational circumstances and the reigning champions will now bid for a record-making eighth title triumph when lining up against Blantyre – at their opponents’ home rink – on Saturday, March 3.

East Lothian had entered the last of their ten-match programme in Section B hoping to capitalise in the unlikely event that West 
Lothian, holding a lead of two points and 30 shots, would slip up at foot-of-the-table Paisley.

While East Lothian were enjoying a 93-60 victory over Elgin, West Lothian were making a complete hash of their last match at Livingston.

The star-studded table-topping team looked nailed on to defeat relegation-doomed opposition but their collapse to a 99-55 defeat allowed East Lothian to pip them at the winning post.

“We thought it was all over after losing to West Lothian the week before,” admitted captain Berwick.

“However, I said to the lads that we should get our heads back up and play to the final whistle.”

The EL response at home to Elgin was a tribute to their attitude and mental toughness in powering to a commanding victory that enabled them to snatch the Section honours by shot difference, having an advantage of 47 over West Lothian.

Top performers were the rinks skipped by Alex Marshall and his fellow international star Billy Mellors.

Marshall skipped Mark Yuill, Berwick and Stewart Thomson to a 26-8 win while Mellors and his front-three of Mark Johnston, Dean Riva and Scott Kennedy supported with a 29-12 triumph.

Derek Oliver was piped at the post to lose 18-17 while Graham 
Robertson was defeated 22-21.

The tale of woe for WL at Paisley was a total eclipse by an opposition that was only winning for a second time in their ten-match programme yet dropping down to Division 1 clutching the scalp of the pre-match section leaders.

WL failed to strike a blow with the rinks skipped by Calum Logan and Mark Allison thumped by 18 and 16 shots respectively while Neil Speirs lost by 6 and Craig Moss by 4.

Bainfield finished on a high, and in third place, in Section A of the Premier League, defeating second-placed Midlothian 74-62 at the Hutchison Crossway Stadium.

Balbardie men conjured up a magical escape to survival in Division 1 South by finishing their ten-match schedule with a magnificent hat-trick of victories.