Bowls: ‘Heartbreaker’ for Bainfield after East Lothian fightback
Five-times cup champions East Lothian showed typical fighting spirit to come from behind with a last-gasp surge to steal an 83-78 victory.
The Bainfield support were imbued with the feel-good factor when the major scoreboard showed their team leading 65-49 after 15 ends.
The 16-shot lead was a peak after Bainfield had held the driving seat for an 11-end period that suggested they just about had the measure of an opposition that was against the collar on all four rinks.
However, end 16 was to herald a game-changing moment and, to rub salt into the Bainfied wound, it was delivered by former Edinburgh IBC star Billy Mellors, who carded a mighty 5 against Robert Marshall.
East Lothian benefited from a 6-2 count across the card then followed with 6-4 to take closer order at 71-61, but Bainfield managed to stem that change of tide with a 3-3 hold on end 18 to remain 10 up with three ends to play. End 19 saw East Lothian carding a 5-1 that brought Bainfield under intense pressure with their match lead now down to six. Then end 20 raised the temperature to fever pitch with Willie Wood carding a 4 against Paul O’Donnell.
Wood’s inspirational conversion of a head that lay against him resulted in a 6-2 capture for EL that flashed up a now extremely vulnerable 77-75 lead for Bainfield entering the 21st and final ends across the carpet.
It was a chance for Scott Kennedy to turn the screw on a now wilting Bainfield and the former national singles champion did so with a count of 5 against Gavin Smith.
East Lothian sensed a sensational escape to victory and executed an 8-1 domination of an exciting climax to win the match by five shots.
“My first thought was an anguished, thinking that we had tossed victory away, then I felt it was a heartbreaker for a team that had played extremely well for most of the match, but due tribute must be paid to a fantastic finish from East Lothian,” said John Bell of Bainfield.
Wins for the rinks skipped by Scott Kennedy, Billy Mellors and Derek Oliver just tipped the scales for East Lothian, while Paul O’Donnell managed to hold on for Bainfield.
The phase scoring saw Bainfield edge the first two seven-end segments, 24-20 and 31-25, but fold to a 36-23 loss on the third.