East Lothian world stage star Alex ‘Tattie’ Marshall MBE was last week part of Scotland men’s side that took the overall team title at the Atlantic Rim Bowls Championships that was staged in Cyprus.
In the pairs event Marshall teamed up with 2014 Commonwealth Games winning partner Paul Foster and they enjoyed a great run in the event before losing 18-12 to Ireland in the final. He then turned his attentions to the fours action where he teamed up again with Foster along with Stewart Anderson and Neil Speirs to form a formidable looking Scottish rink. As expected Marshall & Co breezed through the qualifying campaign before seeing off the challenge of Wales in the semi-final. In the final the Scots faced Jersey and were red hots favourites to claim the title but Marshall and his team-mates had to settle for a silver medal after suffering a shock 15-14 defeat.
Overall Scotland picked up medals in seven of the eight categories during the two weeks of competition in Paphos. It means that they have qualified a place for all eight events at the 2016 World Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand, although it does not necessarily mean the players who won medals in Cyprus will be in the team.
Bowls Scotland high-performance manager Rhona Howie said: “Our first goal of the Atlantic Championships was to qualify for the next year’s World Championships and we achieved that in all eight disciplines. “But also to go on and win seven out of eight medals was a great performance by the Scottish squad.
The strong representation from East Lothian IBC failed to shine in the playdown action of the gents and ladies national triples championships last weekend, with both challenges faltering at the second round stage. In the gents event Andrew Jeffrey, Scott Kennedy and Billy Mellors were in action at Lanarkshire IBC in Wishaw and launched their campaign with a 29-6 prelim round blitz of Fintry. They then faced a monumental mountain to climb in the first round proper presenting itself in the shape of a top Midlothian triple in the shape of Ronnie Duncan, Billy Dunleavey and Colin Walker. The confrontation as expected developed into an epic battle but it was the garden county trio who emerged triumphant with a 17-14 win. Carrying the Saturday form over into Sunday’s play is a fresh challenge and Mellors and Co never quite fired on as many cylinders in their second round clash with Falkirk and the outcome was a disappointing 15-10 defeat. East Lothian captured the ladies national title in season 2013/14 and the same trio in the shape of Yvonne Veitch, Margaret Thomson and Emma Logan (nee Brown) were back on the same trail last weekend. They paraded their skills in the section hosted by Blantyre IBC and opened with a nail biting 24-22 prelim round win over Headwell. And the hopes of the garden county camp soared when Logan and Co emerged victorious in another hard fought battle, coming out on top, 17-15, against Auchinleck. But the dream of another national title quickly evaporated in the shape of a severe anti-climax 22-5 defeat at the hands of Glasgow.
The strong East Lothian IBC partnership of Jamie Higgins and Derek Oliver captured the national 4-bowl pairs title in season 2012/13 and the ultra-talented international duo embark on the same conquest again this weekend. The garden county champions are in action at Bainfield IBC in Edinburgh tomorrow (Saturday) and face a preliminary round confrontation with a pairing from Stirling on the 9.30am session. The local challenge in the ladies playdown action also looks in good hands as the talented duo of Diane Rowan and Yvonne Veitch are in action at West Lothian IBC in Livingston and also enter the fray on the 9.30am session with a prelim round clash against Perth.
The senior side from East Lothian made it nine wins in a row when they beat Tweedbank 82-34 on away soil last Wednesday in the East B section of the Scottish Senior League. It’s a result that mean the garden county ‘auld yins’ will go into the festive period knowing they are now in an uncatchable position at the top of the table despite still having two fixtures to play. The away support was able to cheer super double figure wins for Willie Wood MBE and Tommy Young while Alastair Russell also chipped in with a single digit win. Peter Laidlaw shaped up well in the early stages of his game but a significant stumble on the run in cost him a narrow defeat, and East Lothian a clean sweep. The side was back in action on Wednesday when they entertained West Lothian at the Alex Marshall Arena and an unchanged line-up was announced.
The East Lothian IBC contingent of Megan Kivlin, Lewis Betts, Craig Mackintosh and Dean Riva were in SYIBA Dales National Youth Fours action last Sunday at Falkirk IBC. The talented garden county rink were in fine form to come through their qualifying section with a 100% record then went onto defeat West of Scotland in the quarter-final before losing out to eventual winners Midlothian in a closely contested semi-final clash. On Sunday the club is staging an Under 18 open singles tournament and the event has attracted entries from the some of the best local young talent along with others from further afield. The tournament is being sponsored by Mums Catering and Aero Bowls and all the action gets underway at 10am.
During the month of December memberships for East Lothian IBC are available at a cost of £45 for the remainder of the season for anyone interested in joining.
The East Lothian bowling community is in mourning following the recent passing of Macmerry legend Jim Oliver. Jim was a ‘well kent’ figure in the garden county and represented his county both on the outdoor and indoor scene for many years.