The 'Prize' for winning the East Lothian Province Knockout is the opportunity to represent the Province at the National Championships held every year at Greenacres. This year, the honour befell to our victorious team of James Pate, Dave Munro, Sandy Nicoll and Andy Aberdein. The actual formation of the team caused many headaches with the event clashing with weddings and rugby matches, as each team is restricted to a pool of six players. The Nicoll family stood up to the mark and the team for Saturday was, Morgan, James P, Sandy and Andy, with Dave coming in to skip on Saturday and sister Lindsey replacing Sandy. History does not relate who would be playing on the final day.
Our first game was against Cupar, a very strong team. Nerves were settled taking a single in the first end and losing it again straight away in the second. However a run of 1, 4, 2 and 1 against in ends two to five saw the end of our challenge and we went down 9 - 4 against our eventual group runners up. Our second game of the day was against Upper Strathearn, which was a much more cautious affair. The opposition stole a 2 in the first end and after that all the ends went on singles. Going in to the last end we were 5 - 3 up but a tactical error saw us lose a four and the game 5 - 7.
The second day dawned with us on a played 2, lost 2 record and perhaps the strongest team in the group against us first. Refreshing our playing pool must have helped with Dave and Lindsey joining the team. The game was poised at 3 - 3 after 5 ends, including our first blanked end ot the championship however Angus took a, possibly decisive 3 in the fifth end. Fighting back we scored a 2 in the seventh end and managed a steal of 2 in the final end to take a 7 - 6 win (against the eventual group winners). Our first points were on the board and the fightback had started. Next up, Selkirk, representing the Borders.
We were against more familiar opposition, which seemed to help. Despite a come back with a 3 in the seventh and and a steal of 1 in the final end, Haddington had done enough to record a 10 - 7 win and leave qualification a (small) possibility.
The final group game and third game of the day, was against Inverness. The decisive moment was a steal of 3 in the third end which laid the foundations for a relatively easy 7 - 2 win, leaving Haddington on 3 wins and 2 losses.
Unfortunately this left us third in our group and failing to qualify by 1 point.
It should be noted that the two teams that topped our group, one of which we had beaten, both won their quarter final games and lost in the semi-final round.
Well done to our six players, who certainly did not disgrace themselves or our club.
As a final note, Yester were also taking part as a 'reserve' entry. They also finished third in their group with three wins from five. Yester tied with Renfrewshire on both points and ends but missed qualification on 'shots-up'
East Lothian is one of the smallest Provinces and to produce two teams that were close to qualification is a testament to our abilities. Well done again to both Haddington and Yester teams.