East Lothian IBC men’s side’s hopes of etching their name on the Scottish Cup for a seventh time were thwarted as they suffered a 23-shot defeat in the final at Paisley IBC on Saturday, as arch-rivals West Lothian powered to the title for a record-equalling sixth time.

The final between two of Scotland’s finest lived up to its pre-match hype, before defending three-in-a-row defending champions West Lothian pressed home their superiority in the final phase of the match.

In fact, it was the Garden County side that started the match the better and, after six ends played across the carpet, the scoreboard read 26-16 in their favour.

As the halfway stage approached, West Lothian fired up the atmosphere with a storming fightback and by the 11th end they went in front 42-41.

With their tails up, West Lothian went on to totally dominate the final phase of proceedings and ran out convincing 83-60 winners.

“We are bitterly disappointed with the result but overall we did not perform well enough to win,” reflected team captain Mark Johnston.

“Overall we have no complaints as West Lothian simply played better than us in most positions and deserved their win and we wish to congratulate them again.” Derek Oliver turned in a winning performance for East Lothian but that was to be the only positive outcome in the finals as Jamie Higgins, Billy Mellors and Scott Kennedy all suffered damaging defeats.

Oliver and his rink of Ewan Fallen, John Robertson and Graham Robertson were 7-3 down after four ends against Mark Allison but then produced a super run to win seven ends in succession, including a mighty 5, before going on to win 19-14.

Higgins skipped captain Johnston, Calum Darling and Stewart Thomson into an 11-4 lead after seven ends but the next six ends proved to be disastrous as they conceded 15 shots without reply before eventually losing 22-18 to Tommy Mann.

Mellors and his front three of Andrew Jeffrey, Andy Burt and Dougie Berwick also started brightly to lead 9-3 against Calum Logan but it was a false dawn as they failed to spark in the second half and lost 22-13.

Lessel Middler, Gary Darling, Willie Wood and Kennedy got off to a terrible start and never really recovered before eventually losing 25-10 to Neil Speirs.

Current national singles champion Billy Mellors was crowned king of his county for the second successive year after capturing the singles championship at East Lothian IBC, the 40-year-old IT manager emulating his success last year at the expense of Ewan Fallen after an entertaining 27-end final last Friday evening.

His 21-17 triumph brings the major reward of carrying the Garden County banner in next season’s national banner and getting the opportunity to defend his national crown.

Scoring wise, Mellors always held the upper hand but in the early stages in particular Fallen played the better bowls and Mellors’ pinpoint accuracy with his heavy shots saved him on a number of occasions.

But as the game wore on, Mellors found his rhythm with his drawing game and raced into a 20-13, but then Fallen blasted back with a cracking full house count of 4, before Mellors collected the title-winning single as his opponent’s bowl dipped past the head.

“To capture the title for a second time is a dream come true and has rounded off what has been a truly memorable season for me,” said a jubilant Mellors.

The final of the ladies’ championship singles was also down for decision last Friday evening and the ultra-talented Dee Hoggan was crowned queen of her county for a third year running as she produced another memorable performance to beat Janet Fairnie 21-8.

Hoggan’s success in the singles completed a memorable treble for her as, along with partner Megan Kivlin, they captured the ladies’ 2-bowl pairs title, while she teamed up with Yvonne Veitch, Margaret Thomson and Janet Fairnie to win the ladies’ fours.

Junior cap Ewan Fallen reigned supreme in the gents’ junior singles after beating defending champion Calvert Allison 21-15, while a new name will be etched on the youth championship singles trophy after Lewis Betts claimed his first title success following a 21-9 triumph over Craig Mackintosh.

Betts also celebrated title success in the youth pairs as he skipped Daniel Kivlin to a 17-11 win over Robbie Shields and Beth Riva in the final.

Former national champions Yvonne Veitch, Margaret Thomson and Emma Brown will get the opportunity to go for national glory again after they lifted the ladies’ triples title by beating Margaret Murray, Anne Barclay and Irene Gray 26-5, while Diane Rowan and Yvonne Veitch were in tip-top form to capture the ladies’ 4-bowl pairs.

Former British Isles pairs champions Jamie Higgins and Derek Oliver were back on the winners’ podium as they enjoyed another success in the gents’ 4-bowl pairs with a thrilling 19-18 win over Chris Johnston and Ewan Fallen.

The talented duo of Lessel Middler and Jim Robertson claimed the gents’ senior pairs crown, while they teamed up with Peter Laidlaw and Tom Young to triumph in the gents’ senior fours.

A senior rink skippered by John Rolland won the Kiwi Quiach, while Tranent captured the East Coast Carpets-sponsored Top Club tournament. The Top 4 title went the way of BJ Smith, Tom Young, Andy Burt and Dougie Berwick.

On the international stage, Megan Kivlin was last weekend part of a Scotland Under-17 side that defeated Channel Islands in an international test series played at Guernsey IBC.

East Lothian A inscribed their name on the Jock Brodie Senior Challenge Cup for a remarkable 11th time in its 18-year history after a convincing 6-2 points win over East Lothian B in last Wednesday’s grand finale at Meadowmill.

During the course of the tournament, club members Morag Wood and Muriel Hamilton organised a raffle that eventually raised a tremendous sum of £1,131 for club funds. The club thanked Morag and Muriel for their tremendous efforts and also tournament sponsors Norman T Craig and Co-operative Funeral & Monumental Services for their continued support.

Turning attention to the outdoor bowling season and the fixture list in Division 1 of the East Lothian Leagues, recently issued by ELBA match secretary Keith Fender, sets the scene for a cracking opening week of fixtures next Friday (April 24) evening.

Champions Haddington begin their title defence with a home fixture against newly promoted Dunbar, while last season’s runners-up Cockenzie & Port Seton face a tough opening challenge at West Barns.

There will be a small matter of a local derby when EL-Coop play host to fierce rivals Tranent, while it should be quite a night at Castlepark when their first and second teams go head-to-head.

Gifford open with a home clash against East Linton and look set to field a couple of new mystery signings but will be without icon figure Alex ‘Tattie’ Marshall for the majority of the campaign.

All club secretaries are reminded that player nomination forms for selection consideration for East Lothian in the forthcoming Scottish Counties Championship (Hamilton Trophy) must be returned to team administrator Jamie Gordon by next Monday (April 27). Newly appointed team manager Ian Bell will select a side later on that week and a practice match will be staged at Haddington BC on Saturday, May 2.

Meanwhile, ELBA has announced that the Prestongrange father-and-son pairing of Stevie and Michael Greenan are the new appointed selectors for the under-25 side. Player nomination forms have been circulated around all the clubs and must be returned to Stevie Greenan by end of April.

Finally, bowls fans can keep up-to-date with all that is happening on the outdoor bowling scene in the Garden County by following the website by East Lothian Bowling Association. All bowlers are urged to view by visiting www.eastlothianbowls.co.uk