EAST Lothian Indoor Bowling Club continued its rich heritage of discovering the latest crop of youngsters to progress in the indoor game by taking bronze at a prestigious competition, writes Matt Osborne.

Stirling Indoor Bowling Club hosted the annual youth competition, where East Lothian has produced the winner for the last five seasons.

The latest squad headed to the top six format spearheaded by the now-highly-experienced Logan Kennedy in the singles. Harry Marr and Ryan Harris teamed up in the pairs, while Jack Oliver, Keir Robertson and Jack Marr made up the triples contingent.

The squad won through the day and reached the knockout stages, where they narrowly lost 4-3 to Auchinleck in the semi-finals.

The group did recover in the third-place play-off game, winning 7-0 against the combined six of Turriff/Elgin to secure bronze on the day.

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Closer to home, both ladies’ and gents’ squads finished their respective league campaigns at the weekend, with both suffering losses in the final fixture.

The ladies hosted Midlothian at Meadowmill, with the winner progressing to the league final next month.

The hosts made all the early running and forced a 20-8 lead after the first hour of play.

However, the expected close encounter came to fruition when the visitors scored well from ends five to 11 and had the match level at the halfway point.

Momentum looked to be with the visitors and they forced ahead 38-34 as the game neared its conclusion.

Beth Riva saw her encounter with Stacey McDougall enter the last end all square before narrowly losing out 16-13.

Meanwhile, Emma Blyth trailed Shona Johnstone 17-11 and lay six shots that would see their rink enter the last end level, only to see Johnstone draw the shot with her last delivery and see out the victory 18-12 for Midlothian.

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Lauren Baillie-Whyte held a narrow lead over Megan Grantham playing the last, narrowly missing the jack with a running bowl that would have seen East Lothian claim the overall win.

She did win her individual battle 22-17 but it was Midlothian who progressed to the final, 51-47.

The gents were tasked with the challenge of Blantyre away in their final game of the league campaign.

The tricky carpet has yielded few away wins in multiple years.

While progression was highly unlikely, the East Lothian squad were looking to finish the campaign on a high at the notorious venue.

East Lothian had opted to retain the young-looking line-up from their Scottish Cup win, with under-25 and full Scotland international star Aaron Betts skipping amongst the vast experience of Derek Oliver and Billy Mellors.

Daniel Gormley had been under pressure most of the afternoon but kept the overall game in touching distance for the visitors.

Indeed, with the last end of the day being played, the overall score was level at 67-67 with the opportunity of the rarest of away wins.

Unfortunately, the last rink on the carpet had an end to forget after the home side deployed the jack to a length that had not been played throughout the afternoon, using the highly advantageous home knowledge to secure a 69-67 win and with it Premier League safety for the 2024/25 season.