East LOTHIAN IBC transformed an indifferent season into a memorable one by capturing the indoor bowls Scottish Cup for a record sixth time, beating Abbeyview by 17 shots in the final in Aberdeen.
Win No. 6 edges East Lothian one ahead of great rivals West Lothian and adds to a rich tapestry of success that was launched in 1989 when etching their name on the coveted silverware as the inaugural cup champions.
The recent giants of the premier league – four titles in a row from seasons 2006 to 2009 – came into the Cup final as favourites to beat their challengers from Division 1. They were given a hard fight by the Fifers from Dunfermline, but eventually triumphed 86-69.
The expected one-way traffic didn’t materialise, with Abbeyview managing to deal a bloody nose to the EL rinks skipped by Billy Mellors and world-stage star Alex Marshall, but triumphs for Scott Kennedy and Derek Oliver carried the day for the Garden County.
The final was given a great injection of drama from the off with East Lothian rocked by a fired-up opposition that included a 7-0 clean-sweep on end four that saw them whiz into a surprise 18-12 lead at the five end stage.
East Lothian spokesman Scott Kennedy said: “We were well able to cope mentally with this opening onslaught against us as Graham Robertson, our captain, had predicted that possibility in his pre-match team talk, pointing out that Abbeyview would have nothing to lose in having a real go at us.”
The EL response was magnificent. Successive clean sweeps of 9-0 and 11-0, followed by an 8-1, added up to a 28-1 fightback that swept them into a 21-shot match lead with the major scoreboard showing 40-19 after eight ends.
“I led the way with a good count of 4 on end six while Derek (Oliver) created a major buzz with a mighty 5 at the seventh and the net result was a significant change of mood and tactic across the carpet from defensive to attack,” explained Kennedy.
“We were racing away with it when adding a 5-0 at end 10 to lead 47-22, but a swift reminder to stay focused came on end 11 when Tattie (Marshall) and Billy (Mellors) both conceded fives, leading to an 11-1 loss that cut us back to a 15-shot lead.”
Having recovered strongly enough to capture the first seven-end phase 32-18, the favourites created a 20-shot comfort zone by battling to a 28-22 success on the second. Then it was much to the credit of Abbeyview that the Fifers had the spirit to edge the third 29-26.
Oliver only dropped shots at six of the 21 ends and emerged the EL hero as he skipped Ewan Fallen, Stuart Thomson and Graham Robertson to an inspired 27-8 win over Paul Brown.
Kennedy added 2, 5, 1 to lead 20-9 then skipped Alan Young, Gary Darling and Jamie Higgins to a 23-18 win over Kenny Bald. Marshall and his rink of Mark Johnston, Dougie Berwick, and Willie Wood dropped 4 at the last to be pipped 22-19 by Stuart Pagan.
Mellors and his front-three of Gary Muir, Jamie Gordon and Andrew Jeffrey were mostly against the collar in a 21-17 defeat to Jim McGuire.