Record six times World Indoor Singles champion Alex ‘Tattie’ Marshall MBE is back in World Bowls Tour action next week as he participates in the Co-operative Funeralcare International Open which is being staged at Blackpool’s Newton Hall IBC from 6-11 March.
The last ranking event of the 2015/16 season will feature the top 16 bowlers in the world joined by qualifiers from Wales, England, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, South Africa, USA, Canada, Hong Kong, Israel and New Zealand.
Number 3 seed Marshall faces Australian qualifier Ben Twist in the first round with the clash being staged on Monday (March 7) at approximately 1pm. A win for Marshall could set-up a mouth-watering second round clash with fellow Scot Stewart Anderson on Wednesday afternoon. All the action from Blackpool will be streamed live on the World Bowls Tour YouTube channel and can be viewed by clicking on www.youtube.com/worldbowlstour
The final stages of the joint Scottish Indoor Senior Bowls Championships take place at Prestwick IBC in Ayrshire this weekend and East Lothian have a major interest at the showpiece event. Jim Robertson and Willie Wood MBE will attempt to become the first garden county pair to win the national gents senior pairs title when they line-up tomorrow (Saturday) against Forfar’s Ian Gerrard and Ian Stewart in the semi-final at 2pm. The other last four clash features Alexander Ness and Jim Vallance of Falkirk against Ardrossan’s James Murphy and Bernie McFadden. The final will be staged on Sunday at 2pm.
On the international stage it’s huge congratulations to the East Lothian young duo of Megan Kivlin and Craig Mackintosh after both were selected for the Scotland Under 18 side that will participate in a British Home International series on weekend of Friday 7 to Sunday 9 October at a venue still to be confirmed. Both players have been selected for the Scotland 2 team and will participate in the triples and fours disciplines. Unfortunately, fellow garden county stars Dean Riva and Lewis Betts never made the final line-up but both players gave excellent accounts of themselves at last weekend’s trial match at Abbeyview IBC. It has also been announced that East Lothian’s Scott Kennedy will be team manager for the young Scots for a second successive year.
The thrills and spills in the second round of the Scottish Cup saw ladies side from East Lothian Indoor Bowling Club produce another tip top performance that saw them again capture the scalp of Premier League opposition this time in the shape of Falkirk at neutral Abbeyview IBC, Dunfermline.Whist East Lothian entered the match as probably the underdogs against experienced higher echelon opponents it was countered by the strong mindset of a team in great form that delivered another great result.
Team manager Sheena Currie received a major pre-match blow when Emma Logan had to withdraw from the side which resulted in Alicia Irvine filling her shoes at skip while Rosemary Mackintosh was recalled from the reserve bench. The garden county only tasted success on one of the four rinks but the rink of Megan Kivlin, Muriel Hamilton, Margaret Thomson and Janet Fairnie recorded a magnificent and match winning 33-8 victory which carried the day for East Lothian and covered the narrow defeats sustained by Irene Gray (-5), Yvonne Veitch (-6) and Alicia Irvine (-7). “We knew that we had to perform to a high level again and I am absolutely delighted that players rose to the challenge against higher league opposition for the second week running but I must give special mention to all the players in Janet’s (Fairnie) rink as they played superb”, said team manager Sheena Currie. The side’s focus is now trained on tomorrow’s (Saturday) quarter-final match at Bainfield IBC in Edinburgh where the opposition is once again in the shape of premier league calibre and defending champions Midlothian. “It’s all to play for” said Currie but she has been dealt a triple blow in her team selection as top skips Emma Logan and Janet Fairnie are enforced absentees while stalwart campaigner Nancy McNeil also misses out. New Scotland cap Dee Hoggan has answered an SOS call from Currie and is available to play while Cathy Jones is a recall to a slightly recast line up that reads: – P.Turner, C.Jones, R.Mackintosh, I.Gray skip M.Murray, J.Russell, J.Rutherford, A.Irvine skip M.Kivlin, M.Hamilton, D.Hoggan, M.Thomson skip M.Devine, I.Combe, G.Mackintosh, Y.Veitch skip
Meanwhile the men’s side entertain dreams of making it into the quarter-final of the Scottish Cup but face a big challenge to do so with tomorrow’s (Saturday) second round opposition at Cumbernauld IBC coming in the shape of fellow premier league rivals Paisley. The team news from the garden county camp is that icon figure Alex Marshall MBE is unavailable due to his participation in the International Open event at Blackpool. Jamie Higgins will deputise at skip in Marshall’s absence while Ewan Fallen is moved from his usual leading role and will play at third in the rink skipped by Higgins. Malcolm Higgenbotham is recalled to the side and will line-up at lead in the rink skipped by Derek Oliver. The team reads:- M.Johnston, A.Burt, E.Fallen, J.Higgins skip L.Middler, D.Berwick, J.Mower, B.Mellors skip M.Higgenbotham, J.Gordon, S.W.Thomson, D.Oliver skip A.Jeffrey, G.Blair, G.Robertson, S.Kennedy capt/skip
The qualifying action in the Jock Brodie Senior Challenge Cup, sponsored by Norman T Craig and Co-operative Funeralcare, resumed at the Alex Marshall Arena last Wednesday and East Lothian got back on the winning trail with a 6-2 triumph over Headwell while Midlothian eased to an 8-0 victory over Berwickshire. The action continued on Wednesday when Midlothian tackled Perth while the other clash featured West Lothian against Berwickshire.
The youth side is back in East of Scotland Junior League action tomorrow (Saturday) morning when they welcome East Fife to the Alex Marshall Arena. The following team has been announced; Rink 1: A.Betts, B.Riva, M.Kivlin, D.Riva skip; Rink 2: D.Young, K.Dodds, C.Shaw, C.Mackintosh skip; Rink 3: R.Sheilds, R.Reay, R.Buchanan, L.Betts skip
On Sunday, East Lothian IBC host the finals days of the SYIBA National Pairs and Triples and youth convenor Peter Fallen is hoping for a big local attendance at the Alex Marshall Arena for the event. East Lothian has a double interest in the showpiece event as Megan Kivlin and Lewis Betts look to make a successful defence of their pair’s title while David Young, Craig Mackintosh and Dean Riva go for national glory in the triples action. Play gets underway at 10.30am.
Officials at East Lothian IBC have announced that the popular hat game scheduled for this coming Monday will take place from 9.30-11.30am for one week only.
Turning attention to the fast approaching outdoor season and bowling members of Cockenzie & Port Seton Bowling Club are reminded that their AGM will take place on Tuesday March 15 at 7pm.
All outdoor club secretaries are reminded the AGM of the East Lothian Bowling Association takes places at Haddington BC on Wednesday March 16 from 7pm. Two representatives from each affiliated club are formally requested to attend the meeting.