A sixth world indoor singles brought East Lothian ace Alex ‘Tattie’ Marshall’s tally of world titles to an amazing 20, and his bank account was bolstered by the addition of a £55,000 prize purse in last Sunday’s Just Retirement final against Anglo Scot Andy Thomson at Potters Leisure Resort in Norfolk.
Thomson, the winner in 1994, 95 and again in 2012, had been looking to bridge that gap on Marshall’s five titles, but the expected fireworks never materialised and the final never really lived up to expectations with 47 year old Marshall only dropping seven ends throughout the best of two sets of eleven end head to head and winning 11-9, 10-3 with an end to spare.Marshall, who was priced at 10/1 at the beginning of the event, led 10-3 with three ends remaining with Thomson bouncing back with a full house and a double to trail by a single playing the last but Marshall ended any hopes of losing the set when he held off Thomson’s challenge.At the end of the first set Thomson looked as though he was finding some form, but Marshall knocked that notion on the head and promptly took a 6-1 five end lead and despite losing two singles on the next he ran out 1, 2 and 1 and raised his arms to the heavens for that amazing sixth title, the first of which he won at this same Norfolk venue seventeen years ago.His previous wins came in 1999, 03, 04, 07 and 08 and he lost in the 2011 final to best friend Paul Foster. On his way to this year’s title, Marshall edged a 2-0 tie break win against Welsh qualifier Liam Bouse followed by wins over Aussie Ben Twist and City of Ely clubmates Nicky Brett and then Greg Harlow.”I’m done in, absolutely drained,” said the new champion. “Although the score line doesn’t reflect it you’ve got to stay focused and concentrate. You can’t relax for a minute.”Over the game though I got the wee breaks that were going, especially in the first set. I lot of times I forced Andy onto the dodgy forehand side of the rink playing towards the commentary position and that was a very difficult side to play. But over the piece Andy played some big shots but at 6-1 up in the second I just tried to keep it tight for there.”Thomson, attempting to win the title for the fourth time after wins in 1994-95 and three years ago in 2012, said: “I was more disappointed at my performance than I was about losing the final. However I’m not going to beat myself up about it.”Without a doubt Alex was the better player and thoroughly deserved his win. I have no gripes, he outplayed me.”The talented senior side from East Lothian IBC marched into the semi-final stage of the Scottish Senior League Cup with a commanding 78-53 over defending champions Falkirk in last Wednesday’s quarter-final action at West Lothian IBC in Livingston.
The garden county ‘auld yins’ were still missing the services of legend figure Willie Wood Wood MBE but still manage to hold supremacy on all four rinks with Peter Laidlaw (+13), Alister Russell (+6), Tommy Young (+3) and Jock Brodie (+3) all skipping their respective rinks to excellent and hard fought wins.“We led from start to finish so it was a great team performance and effort against a very good Falkirk side”, said team co-ordinator John Hamilton. The side was due to play Aberdeen at neutral Dundee IBC in the semi-final on Wednesday.
The final stages of the joint Scottish Indoor Bowls Championships take place at Fraserburgh IBC this weekend and the garden county have a double interest at the gala finals event. East Lothian champion Billy Mellors has the opportunity to realise a burning ambition of winning the national indoor singles title and his opponent in tomorrow’s (Saturday) semi-final at 12.30pm is Midlothian champion and fellow Scotland cap Ronnie Duncan. The other last four clash features current World No.1 Paul Foster of Prestwick and Mike Stepney of Elgin. The final will be staged on Sunday at 1pm. Ladies star Emma Brown is already a major figure in the sport, with 12 full caps to her credit plus a national triples title, and she has the chance to add another national title success to her ever growing CV when she lines up in the last four of the ladies junior singles. The semi-final draw pitched Brown against fellow Scotland junior cap Michelle Keenan of Dumbarton and they go head-to-head tomorrow at 10am. The other last four encounter is between Stacey Laidlaw of Midlothian and Claire Walker of Blantyre.
The men’s side from East Lothian IBC will reflect it was a case of so near and yet so far as they ended their B section campaign of the Scottish Premier League with a commanding 27 shot victory (95-68) over Ardrossan at Meadowmill stadium last Saturday.“The previous week’s heavy defeat at Falkirk meant we had nothing much to play for against Ardrossan but in my pre-match team talk I expressed the importance of trying to end the campaign with a win and restore team morale ahead of our pending Scottish Cup campaign”, said team captain Mark Johnston.East Lothian’s final fling in the B section wasn’t perfection with the rink skipped by Derek Oliver losing but it was a narrow defeat well covered by wins registered by Billy Mellors (+16), Scott Kennedy (+13) and Jamie Higgins (+5).
East Lothian begins their Scottish Cup quest on Saturday February 28 with a first round clash against Division 2 North strugglers Forfar at a neutral venue still to be confirmed.
The qualifying action in the Jock Brodie Senior Challenge Cup continued last Wednesday and Border raiders Teviotdale caused a major shock by inflicting a 5-3 point’s defeat on Perth. The action continued on Wednesday when Bainfield played Headwell while Falkirk clashed with Abbeyview.
Soon to be Scotland Under 17 cap Megan Kivlin will join East Lothian clubmate Calum Darling at the finals day of the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games qualifying event. Kivlin had to make the long trip to Forfar IBC last Saturday but it proved to be a worthwhile journey as she won her qualifying group and then defeated the experienced Gemma Forrester of Abbeyview in the playoff final to book her place in finals day at Glasgow IBC on Sunday March 1.
A youth side from East Lothian IBC were in East of Scotland Youth singles and fours action last Sunday and the garden county young brigade ended up beaten finalists in both events. Lewis Betts paraded his skills in the singles and won his section to qualify for the semi-final where he defeated Stirling before losing to Falkirk in the final. In the fours Megan Kivlin, Robbie Shields, Dean Riva and Craig Mackintosh won their three qualifying matches to progress through to the semi-final where they defeated Midlothian but in the final they lost on the last end against Abbeyview. The youth side are back in action on Sunday as they head across the River Forth to Abbeyview IBC in Dunfermline to compete in their annual Top 10 tournament.