Six-times national champions East Lothian have been quick off their mark to name their line-up for their opening Scottish Counties Championship fixture against West Fife at Polson Park on Saturday, May 11.
East Lothian players plunged from the heights of national champions in 2011 to finish a dismal bottom of the pile in the 2012 section campaign so they have much to do to recover their injured pride.
But this year’s squad has a much stronger look about it so it will come as no big surprise if the ‘garden county’ cause a stir against Edinburgh & Leith, West Lothian, and Midlothian, and come out on top against West Fife, Fife County, Stirlingshire East, and Borders.
East Lothian are boosted by the inclusion of Billy Mellors – last year’s captain of the East section winners and national finalists, E&L.
Mellors has already won over the hearts of the East Lothian support as a member of their successful Indoor team.
The Scotland cap has another former national singles champion in the shape of 2000 winner John McCrorie of Tranent returning to the limelight as his third, while Matthew Osborne of Tranent and David Oliver of Port Seton are the front two.
Debutant Scott Logan joins Mellors as a new face following his switch from Broxburn, although younger brother Calum, father Raymond, and cousins Grant and Greg will continue in the yet-to-be-announced WL team.
New boy Logan will parade his skills at second to Kenny McCrorie (Tranent), Jamie Higgins (Tranent) and in the company of inspirational team captain Brian Young of Castlepark.
The strengthening process by the EL selectors is also highlighted by their persuasion of indoor cap Scott Kennedy to return to the fold and he should make an immediate mark as a strong third to his older brother Alistair – an outdoor cap.
The Kennedy brothers have Chris Johnston and Ross Irvine as their front-end and up to date news on them is that the former has joined Gifford from Winton and the latter has switched from Macmerry to ELCO.
Steven Morgan of Port Seton is another major impact player to return from self-imposed exile and team spirit is set for a major lift when he skips his fellow club colleagues Ronald Branley and Craig Valentine – sandwiched by Dougie Berwick of Gifford at second.
Port Seton star Derek Oliver is a national figure still growing in stature and he will be seen by EL as a solid asset skipping Jamie Blair of ELCO, Jamie Gordon of Port Seton, and Colin Glen of Elphinstone.
Willie Wood at third and Alex Marshall at skip brings an awesome look to an all-Gifford rink fronted by Grant Thomson and David Sked.