The Co-operative Funeralcare continued its sponsorship of the Scottish Inter County Top Ten (Bowls) Championship in 2015 and the 34th year of the prestige event saw Burnbank- Hamilton capture the coveted crown for Lanarkshire.
Burnbank were making their fourth appearance in the ‘National Top Ten’ and their first title triumph brought Lanarkshire only their second celebration having last triggered the victory salute with the success of Lesmahagow in 1984. The team and crowd reaction was particularly raucous and gloriously acclaimed as the Final Days play was hosted at bi-annual venue Eddlewood BC in Hamilton so Burnbank were bringing pleasure to an inspired vocal local support.
The final was in itself and anti-climax in that Burnbank stormed to commanding 6-2 win over Kirkconnel of Dumfriesshire having been inspired by spearhead figure Michael Docherty powering to a 21-5 win in the Singles. The high profile partnership of indoor caps Gerry Sullivan and Jim McCann took no prisoners as they romped to a 26-5 win in the Pairs while the rink of Mark McCourt, Jackie O’Neill, Sandy Hazelting, and Scott Fair dominated the Fours to win 22-14.
Kirkconnel did have the measure of their opposition in the Triples with Ryan Clark, Ian Clark, and Alistair Monteith transforming an 8-2 deficit into a good 19-11 win over Hugh Letham, Thomas Kerr, and Brian Davies. The two semi finals were real corkers however with last end drama in the Pairs tipping the scales for Burnbank in their clash with Bellsburn (Linlithgow) of West Lothian.
Burnbank had recovered from 12-6 down to cross, with the help of a super six, 16-12 but then trailed 17-16 before carding a double to snatch an 18-17 win over Sam Gray and Craig Yeaman. The result was a match-winner because it tied the result at 4-4 on points allowing Burnbank to reach the final with a superior shot margin of 9 shots. Other scores being Singles, 19-21; Triples, 22-7; Fours, 11-16.
Kirkconnel beat Fife champions Strathmiglo, 6-2, with the game changing result delivered by Lee Marshall finishing 3, 4, 3 to steal a 21-17 win over a stunned Alan Pearson in the Singles. Other scores, Pairs, 18-13; Triples, 15-14; Fours, 7-23.
The Co-operative Funeralcare was represented by Jim Lee who presented the Trophy and Prizes and paid tribute and compliments to an event that embraced 25 County Champions, nationwide.
The 2015 draw was made on Saturday 20th September.
The prelim round on 17th May see Bellsburn (West Lothian) away to Stranraer and West Barnes (East Lothian) away to Carnoustie.
Bonnyrigg (Midlothian) start with a home game against Ellon whilst Edinburgh West End (Edinburgh) are away at Jedburgh in the 1st round to be played on 24th May
Full Draw details can be seen here : Scottish Bowls
West Barns have staged a successful defence of the prestigious Jubilee Cup and now go forward to represent the East Lothian Banner in the Scottish Inter County Top Ten Tournament for a super sixth time. “We were runners up in the national championship in 2007 and semi finalists this season so the club is excited that we will be challenging for the 2015 title with a strong team that has the ability and promise of going all the way”, said team captain Scott Kennedy.
Haddington provided stiff opposition in the recently contested County final played at Gifford and the outcome went right down to the wire with the points shared 4-4 and West Barns triggering the victory salute with a shot margin plus of 4. Wins in the Pairs and Triples tipped the scales for the defending champions who were put under pressure by their losses to Haddington in the Singles and Fours. Kennedy – who earned his debut caps for Scotland this season – is a major player in the West Barns Top Ten and played a significant role in skipping Kevin Thomson to a 7 shot win over Haddington’s Pair of Stewart Thomson and Gary McNab. The battle for supremacy in the Triples was an epic affair that was filled with great tensions before Gary Landells skipped Ian Knox and Ian Thorburn to a nail-biting 3 shot win over Graeme Wilson, Gordon Hunter, and Billy Dunleavy. Haddington had drawn first blood and it was an early morale booster for them with their spearhead figure Glenn Blair just getting it on the nod to win a 21-20 thriller against West Barns icon Alister Kennedy of international reputation. The knife-edge climax to the match result was then set up the Haddington Rink of Chris Black, Charlie Sobolewski, Jamie Blair, and Angus Blair who inflicted a 5 shot defeat on Dougie Kennedy, Robert Wilson, Calum Gordon, and Scott Thorburn in the Fours. Earlier in the day West Barns had defeated Cockenzie & Port Seton in their semi final clash while Haddington progressed at the expense of Castlepark.