Gold Medal hero Alex Marshall MBE produced his renowned range of skills in spectacular fashion to skip Graeme Archer and Billy Peacock to the Ł600 champions prize in the hotly contested Invitation Triples event sponsored by M&F Funeral Services at Dalkeith indoor bowls stadium.Read more
Midlothian IBC staged the New Year Extravaganza on Saturday January 3 to herald in 2015 and the galaxy of stars that competed with high profile grass root qualifiers put on a magnificent show for the many spectators in attendance.The field was 16 triples strong starting off playing round robin style in four sections of four after which the trios skipped by Marshall, Colin Walker, JJ Watson, and Neil Speirs qualified for the knockout stage.The final showdown for the Ł600 title produced a David and Goliath encounter with giants of the sport in the shape of Archer, Peacock and Marshall fighting it out with dark horse trio Kenny Bald Jnr, Craig Watson, and John J Watson from Fife.Marshall carded a double on the opening end but Watson fired up his challenge with an exciting take-out that earned him a 3 shot reward on end two then the Commonwealth Games gold medal hero retaliated with two cracking draws to go 4-3 up after three.Hard earned singles were exchanged to 5-4 on ends four and five putting the outcome into the melting pot entering end six where sizzling play from Marshall and his front-two saw them emerge red hot favourites thanks to a game-changing count of 4.Marshall and Co entered the seventh and final end defending a handsome 5 shot lead and continuing with their enterprising style of play finished with a cracking double to clinch a superb 11-4 victory.
The semi finals of the tournament produced ‘the match of the day’ with Marshall skipping Archer and Peacock against the defending champions Calum Logan, Thomas Mann, and Neil Speirs. It was a rerun of their epic 2014 semi final battle.Marshall gained his revenge with a nail-biting 5-3 victory over his fellow 2014 gold medal rink-mate in the Fours but to do so the five times World Singles Champion had to serve up a miraculous game-changer.Speirs and Co led 3-1 after four ends then held shot on end five but Marshall sparked tremendous applause with a neat trail that was perfectly judged and earned him a two shot reward to stay in the game at 3-3.Marshall and Co edged a single at the next to lead 4-3 then with sweat on their brow playing the last carded another single to clinch a two shot victory and breathe a huge sigh of relief.
The second semi was another treat for the spectators with their local favourites in the shape of full caps trio Ronnie Duncan, David Peacock, and Colin Walker going head to head with the surprise package Fife trio skipped by JJ Watson.An anti-climax for the locals looked on the cards when JJ carded successive 3’s to lead 6-0 but Walker and Co kept a steady nerve and roused the stadium with a magic count of 3 at the last that earned them a 9-9 peel and an extra end decider.Dalkeith held its breath with Walker holding shot for a place in the final but Watson denied them that thrill with the Fife skip transforming the scenario with a brilliant take-out to win 10-9.The round robin section placing were,Section 1. Alex Marshall MBE 6 +20; Paul Innes 4 +4; Stacey Laidlaw 2 +0; Scott Runciman 0 –24.Section 2. Colin Walker 4+10; Drew Pearson 4 + 0; Craig Adamson 2 – 2; Ellen Falkner 2 –8.Section 3. JJ Watson 4 +14; Jack Macnab 4 + 0; Darren Burnett 2-3: Sponsors A&F Funeral Services 2-11.Section 4. Neil Speirs 6 +30; Derek Oliver 4 +4; AJ Knight 2 +10; Tony Abernethy 0-44.