East Lothian make strong start to Premier League campaign
East Lothian IBC have made an encouraging start to their 2016/17 campaign in Section B of the gents' Premier League.
Although their opening match resulted in a shock 87-65 defeat at home to Ardrossan, that result was followed by a resounding 40-shot victory (96-56) on home territory against Aberdeen.
East Lothian’s latest test was a visit to Paisley where another tip-top performance produced a 22-shot triumph (86-64) that earned joint top position with Ardrossan and Aberdeen.
Paisley, Premier League champions in 2015, set a 27-18 lead. However, East Lothian soon turned the master scoreboard 54-51 in their favour.
East Lothian engaged a higher gear to accelerate to a 32-13 dominance that delivered a morale-boosting away victory.
“Any away win in this division is a huge bonus and this one was an exceptional experience for three of our new young players Lewis Betts, Craig Mackintosh and Dean Riva,” said team captain Graham Robertson.
The result reflects a strong team performance with winning contributions made by the rinks skipped by Robertson, Derek Oliver and Jamie Higgins while the only setback, suffered by Scott Kennedy, was a narrow one. Oliver inspired the EL charge to victory, skipping Lessel Midler, Matt Osborne and Andrew Jeffrey to a 25-14 win over Callum Taggart, having responded brilliantly to a menacing challenge at 15-14.
Higgins and his rink of Mark Johnston, Lewis Betts and Glenn Blair were boosted by a couple of counts of four that made a vital contribution to their 26-16 win over David Stobo.
Robertson came under tremendous early pressure when in company with Craig Mackintosh, Andy Burt,and Willie wood MBE they trailed 12-0. However, a strong fightback was rewarded by a thrilling 21-19 triumph over John Gilmartin.
Kennedy and his front three of Ross Thomson, Dean Riva and Dougie Berwick were pipped 15-14 in a hammer-and-tongs battle with Dave Moffat.
Balbardie travelled to Aberdeen as underdogs and the formbook was justified with the Bathgate-based Premier League new-boys suffering an 81-66 defeat that leaves them sharing the bottom rung, on two points, with Lanarkshire and Paisley.
Meanwhile, in Section A, Midlothian have struggled to supplement their opening 84-61 win at home to Ayr, losing 84-73 at Falkirk then 89-71 away to Alloa.
West Lothian IBC were expected to take Division 1 North by storm and they have made a whirlwind start with a hat-trick of wins, beating visitors Arbroath 98-61 and Abbeyview 95-59 then winning 97-75 at Headwell.