MAGS Thomson and Janet Fairnie suffered tie-break heartache over the weekend, writes Matt Osborne.

The duo qualified through to the last four of the Ladies 2-bowl pairs earlier this month and at the weekend headed for the first set of Scottish Indoor Bowls finals at Arbroath Indoor Bowling Club.

A Saturday-afternoon straight sets win (9-6, 9-5) against Glasgow propelled the pair into the national final on Sunday, where they met Emma McIntyre and Rebecca Houston of Paisley Indoor.

A dream start saw the East Lothian pair win the first six ends of the contest without reply to lead the first set 9-0 and look to have the set win on the board with ends to spare.

However, the Paisley pair raced back into the tie with a back-to-back treble to trail just 9-6 heading up the last end.

An East Lothian single finally secured the first set, 10-6.

In the second set it would be the Paisley pair doing all the early running, leading 4-0 as they looked to push the match to a tie-break.

Thomson and Fairnie won the following three ends to level the second set 4-4 with three ends left to play.

They knew a draw in the set would see them crowned national 2-bowl pairs champions.

Ends seven and eight saw Houston increase the pressure, scoring back-to-back doubles and leaving East Lothian requiring a full count of four to win the match.

A single proved to be inadequate as the pairs were forced to settle for a three-end tiebreak.

Paisley won the first two ends to claim the 2023 title as champions.

National squads

Meanwhile, East Lothian are looking to continue an incredible run of being represented in the Scottish national indoor squads this season.

Following the retirement of the vastly experienced Billy Mellors and Scott Kennedy from the full national team, selectors have turned their attention to youth.

Dean Riva and Aaron Betts have been selected for gents’ trials in addition to being called up for the junior trials. Emma Blyth and Beth Riva find themselves in the same position, invited for a trial in the full ladies’ team as well as the junior squad.

Dee Hoggan is looking to force her way back into the international set-up and is recalled for a trial.

Both trials are set for next Sunday (December 10), with the teams selected for the international series to follow shortly after.

Indoor matches

Finally, East Lothian gents return to league action this weekend as they welcome Blantyre to Meadowmill in their Premier League section game.

The gents are looking to reach the halfway point of the group stage at the top of the table.

Selectors have named an unchanged squad following their win against Midlothian for the 2pm game this Saturday.

Meanwhile, the ladies make the short journey to Dalkeith as they look to remain unbeaten this season. They face Midlothian in their stop-start league campaign.

A win would leave East Lothian in a formidable position for qualification and their hosts with an uphill battle to reach the knockout stages.