EAST Lothian Indoor Bowling Club welcomed Ardrossan for the opening fixture of the CIS Gents League.

With a tough section containing Midlothian, Falkirk and Abbeyview, a good start would prove pivotal as teams targeted progression from the section.

In the expected tight affair, the teams were separated by just a single shot after the first five ends of play (17-16).

Talismanic figures Alex Marshall and Paul Foster were kept apart in the draw but it would be ‘Tattie’ that would have the bigger say on the outcome of the overall score, skipping Lewis Betts, Ross Thomson and Callum Darling to a 18-4 lead at the 10-end mark.

Scott Kennedy made sure East Lothian would enter the second half with a lead as he skipped Alan Young, Kevin Cunningham and Mark Johnston to a 12-4 lead over Foster.

Billy Mellors could do little to stop the red-hot start of Ardrossan skip Jack Montgomerie as the away rink forced a 12-5 lead at the turn.

Darren Weir, fresh from successive tournaments in the PBA and World Bowls Tour events, held a 12-6 lead over Stuart Thomson at the halfway point.

The home side seemed to hit their stride in the five ends that followed.

Marshall kept his early momentum going to lead Martin Williamson 26-10, while Kennedy sustained his pressure on Foster, scoring all five ends to lead 17-4.

Mellors found the winning rhythm and reduced his arrears to just two at end 15 (11-13).

End 15 in the contest between Thomson and Weir looked to have set up the biggest of single-end comebacks, East Lothian lying seven shots with the prospect of a ‘garden gate’ full house on the cards, with just a bowl each to come from the skips.

Weir played a body blow of a running bowl, converting the head to lie the shot himself in what was to be a deciding factor in the individual rink score.

Despite scoring two at the last, Thomson saw his own battle slide away (23-16), while Mellors found a huge 10 shots in the closing stages to win (21-18).

Kennedy found a single shot at end 20 to halt the Ardrossan comeback and claim a notable (18-11) victory over his international team-mate.

Finally, Marshall saw out a big win over Williamson (32-18) as East Lothian won 87-70.

The gents return to league action on October 29 when they head to newly promoted East Kilbride.

Meanwhile, Mellors and Kennedy travelled to Belfast for the British Isles Championships this week looking to add another title to their impressive bowling CVs.

Both teamed up with the rest of the Scotland international squad for the weekend series.

Meanwhile, Sunday afternoon saw the return of the Scottish seniors playdowns – an afternoon that was to prove fruitful for East Lothian.

First up, the pairing of Billy Dunleavy and Graham Robertson saw off the early challenge of Bainfield (15-12), setting up an afternoon tussle with Fraser Muirhead and former Commonwealth Games star Grant Knox (West Lothian).

The East Lothian duo made all the early running in the tie and looked to wrap up proceedings early.

End 12 saw a last-gasp effort from Knox, saving a game-ending count of six to force a close finish.

The tie looked to be over as the players entered the last end of play with East Lothian holding a seemingly comfortable five-shot lead.

Muirhead with his last bowl trailing the jack two feet to make a rather close three shots before the skips entered the mix, Robertson failed with both draws and runner in his opening three efforts.

Knox gladly accepted the invitation to add a further three shots to the count and unbelievably hold a match-winning lie after three hours of play.

Robertson was to show all his experience, altering for his final delivery and converting the head to lie the single shot they needed to progress.

The legendary figure of Willie Wood headed to Tweedbank with Tommy Young and Lessel Middler in search of a place in the second round of the triples.

An early run of winning ends saw the trio lead 8-1 against Abbeyview.

It was a lead they never looked like losing as they booked their place in round two with a 15-9 victory.

Dougie Berwick headed to Midlothian as the East Lothian singles representative and found the challenge of Balbardie in the first round.

Berwick made all the early running and found himself scratching his head and wondering how the scoreline remained close at 13-9.

Spurred on by some crowd interaction and home support, Berwick booked his place in the next round 21-14.

Finally, the East Lothian Ladies start their own league campaign on Saturday.

They face the tough opponents of East Fife away and must do so with the absence of some key players.

The selectors held a trial match on Sunday and have picked the following team: Jacky McFarlane, Lucy Hogg, Margaret Murray and Lauren Baillie-Whyte; Emma Blyth, Laura White, Mags Thomson and Beth Riva; Melissa Penman, Arlene Whitecross, Kim Hoggan and Yvonne Veitch.

Players are asked to report to Meadowmill for 9.45am (and should contact Colin Penman if they have any availability issues).