THE 2021/2022 ladies’ and gents’ champions were crowned at East Lothian Indoor Bowling Club in the last week.

East Lothian Indoor Bowling Club (ELIBC) president Stuart Thomson took to the rink in search of his first championship title against 1993 champion John McCrorie.

It was Ormiston man McCrorie that set the early tempo for the game, showing his experience under the circumstances to head out to a 7-3 lead over the opening exchanges.

With both players happy at a similar jack length, the match quickly settled into a great singles spectacle.

McCrorie held his slight advantage for more than an hour and continued to lead 16-14.

Thomson, however, found a scoring run of ends as he increased the pressure and hit the front 19-16 just a few ends later to put himself within two shots of a maiden title.

More than two hours into the tie, a championship lie appeared, with the score perched at 19-18.

The tightest head of the evening produced the best bowls of the tie.

East Lothian Courier: Stuart Thomson defeated former champion John McCrorie to be crowned gents' champion at the East Lothian Indoor Bowling ClubStuart Thomson defeated former champion John McCrorie to be crowned gents' champion at the East Lothian Indoor Bowling Club

The shot changed hands four times in the opening six bowls and with one bowl each to play, Thomson held a single shot to push him closer to the trophy.

McCrorie, however, had other ideas, executing an unbelievable forehand draw to somehow draw within millimetres of the jack and a little unfortunate not to convert into a multiple scoring end.

Thomson saw his opportunity for glory – with the best back bowl now in play, he played the perfect backhand runner to convert the head, the jack leaving the side of the rink and following through the head, scoring the remaining two shots required and handing him the East Lothian gents’ crown 21-18.

In the ladies’ championship, it was a contest between two of the most decorated ladies at the club.

Dee Hoggan and Janet Fairnie, with nine titles between them, did battle for the crown.

Commonwealth Games athlete Hoggan set down her claim for a fifth ELIBC crown early on.

With an impressive opening two bowls, most ends created an excellent foundation for an eight-shot lead.

READ MORE: Dee Hoggan, Lauren Baillie-Whyte and Alex Marshall in Commonwealth Games squad

But Fairnie showed championship-winning mettle to stay with the Tranent bowler.

Similar to the gents’ final, both ladies seemed content in playing a similar shorter length jack.

Hoggan was the first to blink and stretch the jack to try to shake off Fairnie’s challenge.

A picture-perfect end for Hoggan opened a 20-13 lead and put her within touching distance of the title.

However, the match was to be far from over.

East Lothian Courier: Dee Hoggan can now celebrate becoming a five-time ladies' championDee Hoggan can now celebrate becoming a five-time ladies' champion

Fairnie produced excellent conversions and put herself on the magic 17, and just four shots from victory and a sixth crown for herself.

Just three bowls later, she found herself lying a match-levelling score of three bowls, with one bowl each to play.

Fairnie opted to change hand and attempted to cover two bowls of Hoggan in case of jack movement.

Hoggan, however, delivered the perfect bowl, a back-hand back toucher, to move level on five titles with her opponent.

Elsewhere, East Lothian Deaf Bowling Association secured a memorable Scottish fours title against four-time winners Aberdeen.

The East Lothian four headed into the tie knowing that their northern counterparts were the team to beat, having their name engraved on the trophy in successive years.

An exemplary display of leading by man-of-the-match Dave Carswell proved the Gannets had different ideas as to where the trophy would reside in 2022.

He was backed up by team-mates Colin Simpson, Paul Conway and Stuart Thomson as they raced to an unbelievable 10-0 lead.

East Lothian Courier: Dave Carswell, Stuart Thomson, Paul Conway and Colin Simpson celebrated national success in DalkeithDave Carswell, Stuart Thomson, Paul Conway and Colin Simpson celebrated national success in Dalkeith

The expectation of a ‘tie-turning’ end failed to materialise for the Aberdeen four as they struggled to adjust to the tricky Dalkeith surface.

A fortuitous break saw the Aberdeen side on the card after eight ends of play but the single shot was not enough to disturb the impressive East Lothian display as they recorded a memorable 14-1 victory and the Scottish Deaf Fours title.

Pro-am tournament

Finally, the Alex Marshall Arena hosts the popular pro-am tournament on Saturday.

The fully inclusive event sees youth players teaming up with the world’s best players, including Alex Marshall, Stuart Anderson, Michael Stepney, Derek Oliver and Billy Mellors.

Several high-profile triples are also invited, including international, Commonwealth Games athletes and para-bowls competitors, alongside club members who have qualified for the event.

Play is scheduled to start at 10am, with catering and events throughout the day.

Tournament convenor Mellors said: “A massive thanks to Brown Demolition, Johnston Oils, Wealth Professional and Asset Finance providing the sponsorship for the event and their support throughout the season and other events.

“As a continuation of youth development in the county, the pro-am provides the players the opportunity to play alongside and against the very best in the country/world, an opportunity that in normal circumstances would be rare on such a large scale.

“I look forward to seeing a large inclusive event on Saturday with players from across the country.”