EAST Lothian Indoor Bowling Club star Billy Mellors’ bid to win the Scottish Indoor Singles crown for a second time in four years fell at the final hurdle at the weekend.

The county ace was beaten by world-stage ace Paul Foster – a former East Lothian player now representing Prestwick Ambassador – in a high-quality final at Blantyre.

Foster, a star of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow alongside East Lothian icon Alex ‘Tattie’ Marshall, equalled the record number of wins for the event with his third championship success.

He edged a closely-contested final 21-19 over Mellors, who is East Lothian’s bowls development officer.

Mellors afterwards admitted he was disappointed to have lost, having also been defeated in the outdoor singles final last summer.

He said: “Losing two national singles in the space of six months is tough to take but that’s bowls.”

The final was evenly poised at the halfway point of the match, Mellors holding a slender 12-10 lead, and that grew to 17-10 as he dominated the next phase of the match.

Foster, though, responded in brilliant fashion, scoring 2, 3, (1) and 3 to level at 18-18 with the outcome of the encounter firmly in the balance.

Mellors secured a single on the next end to regain the lead but a brilliant third bowl from Foster on the following end forced the shot and he claimed a double to move in front for the first time.

Foster brought the mat up and tried to ditch the jack with his opening delivery but managed to clip the jack to the side and, after two bowls played by both players, Mellors lay a double. With his third bowl, Foster drew shot to set up a championship lie.

Mellors opted to attack and with his third bowl he remarkably went through the space between Foster’s bowl and the jack, brushing the bowl on passing but not enough to move it.

The Garden County ace had another chance with his last bowl but, despite a valiant effort, he could not remove the match-winning single for Foster.