ABERLADY reached the semi-final of the national ladies’ fours for the second consecutive season, writes Matt Osborne.

Wins against Monifieth, Bellshill and Mossend followed by Denny meant the Aberlady quartet of Kate Cowan, Moira Buchanan, Amanda Robertson and Melissa Penman booked their place in the last four once again.

The 2022 winners, Buchan Park, of West Lothian, would stand in the way of the quest for at least a silver medal for the East Lothian side.

Unfortunately, it was not to be for the Aberlady four as they once again walked away with bronze medals.

Last Friday saw the future of East Lothian Bowls on display at the national championships as the qualified youths took to the stage at Ayr, Northfield.

The EL Co-op triple of Ethan Gillies, Logan Shields and Daryl Grieve had experience on the livestream rink against under-18s’ Ayrshire star Jamie Noon.

A slow start saw them trail 8-0 before fighting back to 8-6 playing the last end.

Unfortunately, the trio fell agonisingly short to lose 8-7 and see their hopes of a semi-final spot disappear.

East Lothian Courier: Lucas Donnelly and Luke Cowan impressed at the national finals in AyrLucas Donnelly and Luke Cowan impressed at the national finals in Ayr

The Port Seton pairing of Lucas Donnelly and Luke Cowan topped their section after day one and headed into the second day with qualification to the semi-finals in their sights.

A draw in the first session and results elsewhere meant the duo would require any win in their final group game, against Airdrie, to progress.

In a nail-biting 40 minutes, the two teams could not be separated and the pair entered the last end of play all square. In the cruellest of outcomes, the two youngsters missed out on the finest of margins – the umpire’s measure.

Meanwhile, Gifford youngster Calvin Dymock took centre stage in the singles competition.

The group stages saw Dymock drawn alongside more experienced and older opponents.

The youngster remained unfazed throughout the quickfire group games, winning five games and pushing U-25 internationalist and eventual winner Aaron Miller (Fife) all the way in a thrilling 11-10 battle.

East Lothian Courier: Calvin Dymock lost out to eventual winner Aaron Miller in AyrCalvin Dymock lost out to eventual winner Aaron Miller in Ayr

While no county youth walked away with a medal from this year’s championship, they all left with a sense of pride.

Closer to home, East Lothian league action returns tomorrow (Friday) with some season-defining fixtures on the cards.

Port Seton remain top of the Division One table on shot difference and they play their closest rivals EL Co-op in the pick of the ties.

Third placed Haddington will be looking to re-establish their pre-national break form.

The Hi-Hi’s amassed a mammoth 31 of 32 available points to reignite their own title ambitions and welcome bottom side Winton on Friday.

Ormiston’s immediate return to the top flight looks all but secure with back-to-back wins before the break.

They hold a 10-point lead over second placed Macmerry and an 18-point lead over third placed Port Seton A in Division Two.

They can take a further stride towards the Division Two title as they head to promotion hopefuls Macmerry this week.

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Port Seton A will look to take advantage of any dropped points as they head to Tranent.

Haddington, Castlepark and Athelstaneford look locked in a battle for promotion in Division Three.

The top three are separated by just five points as they enter the last five games of the season.

Haddington hold the advantage and head to Longniddry while their promotion rivals miss this week’s round of fixtures.

East Linton and Gifford still harbour outside hopes of promotion but will require a run of sizeable wins to force their way into the promotion picture.

It could be a double title party at Ormiston Bowling Club this season.

As well as their Division Two side, they also sit top of Division Four with a seven-point lead over Aberlady and 11 points clear of third placed Pathhead.

They welcome Gullane this week while Aberlady will look to keep pace as they welcome Tranent.

Pathhead can force their way back into promotion contention but will face the stern test of fourth-placed West Barns.