The East Lothian Indoor Bowling Club contingent of Scott Kennedy, Jamie Higgins, Willie Wood, Billy Mellors, Graham Robertson and Derek Oliver were last weekend part of a Scotland side that lost their grip on the Hilton Trophy.

That was despite the defending champions ending the British Home International campaign with a commendable victory over England at Stanley IBC in County Durham.

The Scots needed to beat the ‘Auld Enemy’ by 18 shots to win the series and they performed impressively for 16 of the 21 ends to lead 99-70.

Sadly, the heroics came to an end on the short run-in with a 37-13 collapse that still saw the Scots celebrate a 112-107 victory – but rob them of retaining the championship title.

The major damage came from a 10-1, 10-3 fight back from England on ends 17 and 18.

The Scots – who had defeated Wales by 30 shots but then suffered a shock four-shot defeat by Ireland – will reflect on their failure to hold England.

The final table had England top on 4 points (+56), then Scotland 4 (+31), Ireland 4 (+12), and Wales 0 (-99).

On the overall performance ladder, Scott Kennedy emerged the most successful East Lothian player as he played third in the rink skipped by former World Indoor Singles champion Stewart Anderson; and for the second successive year, they signed off the series with a 100 per cent record and an impressive shot margin bank of +23.

Jamie Higgins and Willie Wood formed a front end pairing for Midlothian ace Colin Walker and they enjoyed fine wins over Wales and Ireland but lost out against England.

Derek Oliver skipped a rink that included fellow Garden County team-mates Graham Robertson (second) and Billy Mellors (third) but they endured what can only be described as a disappointing campaign and lost all three matches.

Meanwhile, East Lothian’s current national indoor champions failed in their bid to add a British crown but did the county proud with their efforts.

In the gents’ singles, Billy Mellors scored a commanding 21-3 win over Tommy Greechan of the Channel Islands in his opening game but then went down 21-16 in the semi-final to England’s Jamie Walker.

In the ladies’ triples, Yvonne Veitch, Margaret Thomson and Emma Brown were in sensational form in their preliminary-round tie against Ireland and ran out convincing 21-9 winners. Sadly, their heroics came to an end in their semi-final clash against a strong England triple and they lost out 25-18.

The men’s side from East Lothian IBC are campaigning for a magnificent seventh Scottish Cup title success and it isn’t in the DNA of the former six-time champions to slip up against lowly Division 2 opposition in the shape of Cumbernauld at Falkirk IBC in tomorrow’s (Saturday) quarter-final action.

Willie Wood and Andrew Jeffrey are welcome recalls but regulars Gary Muir and Kieran Simants are missing from the ranks.

Rather surprisingly, Jeffrey can only find a place in the side at lead in the rink skipped by Billy Mellors, while Wood slots in at third to Jamie Higgins.

John Robertson retains his place in the side following a decent showing in the previous round, but Matt Osborne drops to the reserve bench.

Team: L. Middler, G. Darling, S. W. Thomson, S. Kennedy skip. A. Jeffrey, A. Burt, D. Berwick, B. Mellors skip. E. Fallen, J. Robertson, G. Robertson, D. Oliver skip. M. Johnston (capt), C. Darling, W. W. Wood, J. Higgins skip.

Last Wednesday’s ongoing qualifying action in the Jock Brodie Senior Challenge Cup, sponsored by Norman T Craig and Co-operative Funeralcare, saw West Lothian inflict 6-2 points damage on Bainfield. The action continued on Wednesday, with Abbeyview facing Tweedbank and Falkirk tackling Midlothian.

The club has confirmed the semi-finals will be staged on Wednesday, April 1, at 11am, with the grand final a week later.

The youth side’s hopes of title glory in the Scottish Youth Top Ten were ended by Garioch when they lost 5-3 on points in Saturday’s quarter-final action at Dundee IBC.

Looking ahead to the now fast-approaching outdoor season and it has been announced that former indoor internationalist Ian ‘Dinger’ Bell is the new East Lothian BA team manager for this season’s Scottish Counties Championship campaign.

Bell will take charge of his first game when the Garden County side open their attempt to win back the Andrew Hamilton Trophy with a tricky away fixture against Borders at Melrose Bowling Club on Saturday, May 9.

Nomination forms will shortly be issued to all clubs by East Lothian Bowling Association requesting names of players wishing to be considered for selection.

It is expected that a trial match will take place at Haddington BC on Saturday, May 2, but this is still to be confirmed.