Rain, wind and freezing temperatures normally greet us at some point in our Annual Floodlit Pairs Competition - but not this year! A great week saw some excellent matches under the floodlights which made some of us think that we should just play all year round - that would definitely be the end for Greenkeeper Rob!
The match of the first round saw Margaret Scott and John Finlay take on Sandra Fullerton and Alex Weir. It took until the very last bowl of the night before the match was decided - with the match lying against him, Alex's last bowl picked up the jack to spoil John & Margaret's week. Alex and Sandra didn't make it past the next round, however, as they lost out to Lee Wilson & Jimmy Gillie who had a first round win against Brian Ogilvie and Anne Rooney.
There was also a first round win for Greig McDonell and Avril Wilson who came from behind to defeat our oldest, sorry, our most senior pairing of Dod Watson & Malcolm Cazaly. Their week was cut short, however, by Alan Gilchrist and Isabel MacRae in the Quarter finals on Wednesday night. No one believes that Greig didn't want to get through because he was busy for the rest of the week!!
The Quarter final stage also saw the end of the road for Billy Nisbet and Rob Clarke as pre-competition favourites Christine Elrick and Gwenda Ainslie strolled to a victory to back up their favourite status.
One half of last year's winning duo, Keith Atkinson also left the competition at the quarter final stage as he and Kenny White lost out to Anne Clarke & Tom Ogilvie.
The semi-finals on the Thursday evening saw Lee & Jimmy take on Alan & Isabel whilst Christine & Gwenda faced Anne & Tom.
Alan & Isabel were in top form as they coasted through to the final. It looked like a certainty that they would be joined there by Christine and Gwenda - with 3 ends to go they led by 20 shots to 7. The loss of a six on end 13 caused no concern for the watching crowd - at least Tom & Anne were trying to make it respectable. The loss of a further two shots on the penultimate end left Tom and Anne five behind. Ah well - a good effort by the underdogs but there was no way they could recover from that deficit on the last end? What a horror story that last end turned out to be for Gwenda and Christine. With only Gwenda's last bowl to come they were 5 down! Suddenly an extra end looked on the cards. Gwenda then decided to mix up the head a bit by going at it with some weight - only one bowl moved and it wasn't one of the five shots that were against - remarkably a 6 on the last end saw Tom and Anne reach the final with a 21-20 win! 14 shots picked up in the last 3 ends - that must go down as the comeback of the season.
The final was also a great match. Al was proudly pointing out the number of times he had won the competition in the past but it was his partner Isabel who played a blinder in the final. With the final end reached, the match was still in the balance. As Tom and Al played their last four bowls the lead changed hands twice. But in the end it was Al's last bowl that made the difference as he and Isabel crept over the line - well done to them.
Our last Open Competition of the season saw a terrific turnout as 24 triples took to the green in beautiful sunny conditions. Only the four group winners would proceed to the semi-final stage, so the pressure was on from the start for all the triples in action.
Section 1 saw two teams finish on 7 points but thanks to two wins by 14 and 11 shots respectively, shot difference went in favour of the triple skipped by Gordon’s Mark Redpath which included our own Lee Wilson. They took the group win away from the Lauder triple of Jimmy Gillie, Greig McDonell and Alex Weir. A win for them would have seen them make the semi-final line up with 8 points but a 1 shot win for Redpath saw him through.
In Section 2, there was significant Lauder interest with 3 pairings but in the end D Hunter secured 4 wins out of 5 which was enough to win the group.
Section 3 looked like a one-horse race and so it proved as the Aberlady triple including Scottish Singles Champion Gordon White progressed with an undefeated record.
And finally, Section 4 saw Lauder’s interest end as Avril Wilson couldn’t make an impression on F Donaldson who progressed with 4 wins and a draw.
The first semi pitted the Aberlady triple against Section 2 winner D Hunter. The East Lothian outfit were looking stronger and stronger as they made it comfortably into the final. In the other semi-final, Gordon’s duo and Lauder’s Wilson proved too strong for their opponents as they set up a mouth-watering final.
The final was a terrific match. Going into the last end the scores were all square. It was left to the aforementioned Scottish champion to make the difference as he ditched the jack to secure a 6-5 win for the East Lothian triple – Well done to them and to all who took part in a fantastic day at the Club.
Our popular Club Pairs Event saw eleven pairs take part across 3 sections with the 3 group winners and the best runner-up moving on to the semi-finals.
Section 1 came down to a straight fight between Jimmy Gillie & Greig McDonell and Tom Ogilvie and Dod Wilson. In a tight match Tom and Dod came out on top by one shot to give them 3 wins out of 3 and the Group winners spot in the semi-finals.
In Section 2, Alan Richards and Isabel MacRae swept all before them with 3 wins out of 3, their closest match being a 1 shot win against Roddy McGeoch & Margaret Scott. Malcolm Cazaly and Jonathan Davidson were to finish runners-up after a draw against Roddy & Margaret was followed by a win v Christine Elrick and Sandra Shackleton.
Section 3 saw three pairs competing and by shot difference the winners were Avril Wilson & Kenny White who secured their place in the semi-finals. In the race for the best runners-up spot, Greig & Jimmy, primarily thanks to a 13-shot victory over Alex Weir and Carol Davidson, completed the last 4 line up.
The first semi was close all the way between Tom & Dod and Avril & Kenny. With Tom’s steady play and Dod’s excellent skipping, they made it over the line by 7 shots to 6. In the other semi-final, Jimmy & Greig were in complete control, 3 up and lying shot with one bowl left in the last end. There was no way Alan could make a three or better – oh my goodness or words to that effect were heard to leave Jimmy’s lips – a three and an extra end was needed – Alan played some great stuff in that final end to secure a place in the final.
The final saw Tom & Dod get off to a great start with two 2’s in the first two ends. Just when the watching crowd thought the match was going to be one sided, back came Isabel & Alan with a single and then a 2 to reduce the deficit to 4-3 with two ends to go. A single for Dod on the penultimate end made it difficult – could Alan repeat the trick of his semi-final wonder bowl? No was the answer as Dod & Tom deservedly won through by 6 shots to 3 to pick up the title for 2019.
The big event of August was the Club’s Gents Championship Final played on the 23rd of the month.
The Competition which runs throughout the season saw Defending Champion Chris Ainslie reach the final where he met first time finalist, Jonathan Davidson. Chris started as a heavy favourite to pick up the title, but Jonathan seemed to relish the “outsider tag” as he produced some excellent bowls.
When Jonathan took a 10-7 lead, Chris was under pressure. That lead was extended with 5 further unanswered shots to take him within 6 shots of victory at 15-7. Despite a brief comeback from Chris, Jonathan held his nerve and ran out a 21-12 victor. Well done to him.
Our Best of 3 Singles Competition was played on Saturday 17th August and attracted 24 entries.
Those who fell into the last 8 names out of the hat had a bye in to the 2nd Round. Amongst them was Ian Hogarth who then discovered following the withdrawal of Jimmy Gillie from the competition that he went straight through to the last 8! No such luck for others such as Lee Wilson & Greig McDonell who were pitted against each other in the first round. Needing two sets of 7 shots for a win, this should be a fairly quick format – try telling that to Greig and Lee who took some 26 ends to finish their match off – Greig is still kicking himself having let a 5-2 lead slip in the deciding set as Lee progressed. The first surprise of the day came when John Finlay made a rare appearance at a Club competition and proceeded to take out the in-form Dod Watson 7-1 in the deciding 3rd set. The match of the first round, however, was between Billy Nisbet and Gwenda Ainslie. When Billie took just 4 ends to whitewash Gwenda in the first set this looked like being a match which would get the timings back on track. But hold on a minute! Four ends later and Gwenda picked up the 2nd set by a 7-1 scoreline. Talk about topsy turvy! A 3 for Billy in the first end of the decider and the match once again swung in his favour. That, however, was followed by a 2 and a 4 for Gwenda – 6-3 and she was in control. In End 4 she was lying the match as Billy’s last bowl trundled down the rink a mile wide of the target. It seems, however, that Billy has been learning from Malcolm – according to Dod (he may be exaggerating a little) after half a dozen wicks and changes of direction, somehow Billy picked up a single to save the match. A two on the next brought the game level before Billy secured victory in the final sudden death end! What a great match.
Round 2 was fairly uneventful before the drama of the quarter finals. Lee forced his tie with Sandra Shackleton into a deciding set, recovering from a 7-2 first set loss. Sandra, however, was not to be beaten as she recorded a 7-0 win in that deciding set. She would face the winner of Avril Wilson v Rab Clarke. Avril lost the first set 7-3 before picking up the second 7-2. The decider was quick! Conserving energy, Rab scored a 4 and a 3 and just like that the match was over! In the other half of the draw, Ian woke up from his lazy day and recorded a straight sets win against Malcolm Cazaly to set up a tie with Billy in the semi-final after his straight sets win over Anne Clarke.
Rab was unable to get going against Sandra in the first semi-final – a 2, a 4 and a single and the first set was over in a flash. The second set wasn’t much better for him as Sandra’s good form continued as she reached the final with a 7-4 second set win. There she would meet Ian who progressed in a much more straightforward manner than most had predicted with a 2-0 victory over Billy.
So the scene was set for an easy victory for Ian – he was much the fresher player having worked his way through the bottom half of the draw with the help of a bye and a walkover whilst Sandra seemed to be struggling a little after 54 ends of bowls had seen her reach the final. Ian looked relaxed and confident as he picked up a three in the first end - slowly but surely, however, Sandra played her way back into the match and a three on end 8 saw her take the first set 7-5. Ian was in trouble! 3 ends later though and the match was all square after a 7-0 whitewash in set 2. With the momentum all in Ian’s favour he was surely back in control. Sandra showed real grit as she took a 5-4 advantage in the deciding set. In what turned out to be the final end of the match, however, she was a bit wayward and Ian with his last bowl drew in beautifully for a 3 to win a great final by 7 shots to 5.