Billy Mellors as the reigning Scottish Indoor Bowls Singles champion is given the automatic right to defend the title and sets out on that trail this weekend with the play down action taking place at Cumbernauld.
Mellors aim is to emulate the fabulous two in a row success achieved by his illustrious club-mate Graham Robertson in seasons 1990 and 1991 and is well equipped to do so however the competition he faces is exceptionally hot. The field is 49 strong and includes previous national champions in the shape of Robert Grant of Lanarkshire (2011), Stewart Anderson of Auchinleck (2009), and David Peacock of Midlothian (1996).
Mellors is an expert at crossing winning lines ahead of the opposition having also proved that in major events on the outdoor scene where the Scottish Junior Singles and Singles proper titles are part of his crowded CV. The 41 year old has received a bye into the first round (11-30am) and launches his latest campaign in what shapes up as a tough test in terms of local carpet knowledge against the winner between host club champion John Cowie and his Alloa counterpart, Gary Craig. Peacock has retired himself from Scotland’s front-line elite squad on the outdoor scene but the multi gold medal winner remains a major personality figure on the domestic front and the reigning champion of Midlothian is a danger to all this weekend.
An early 9-30am start on the first session pitches the icon figure from The Dalkeith Stadium against Gordon Leith of Forfar and if successful the first round opposition looms up in the shape of Stuart Wyllie of Ayr or Alan Cruickshank of Fraserburgh.
The challenge from the Lothian area is further boosted by the presence of another recent gold medal hero in the shape of West Lothian IBC champion Neil Speirs who went close in 2009 – losing to Stewart Anderson in the final.
The 36 year old opens against Cameron Wilson of Galleon on Saturday mornings opening session and is trying to emulate the title triumph of previous WL champions in the shape of Thomas Mann (2013), Jim Boyle (1984) and Bob Sutherland in 1983.
East Lothian have two bites of the cherry with Ewan Fallen benefiting from Mellors being the defending champion and the talented Junior Cap parades his skills on the first session with Jamie Mitchell of Berwickshire in opposition.
The Balbardie banner is represented by the able Mark Bonner whose debut in the event shapes up a testing one with his 1-30pm clash coming against the full cap experienced Mark Thurston of Turriff.
The Bainfield challenge complete the Edinburgh & Lothian picture and it gives the Hutchison Crossway champion Kevin Tennant the chance to raise his profile at the expense of his Cowal counterpart, Alex Kennedy on the 11-30am session. Play continues on Sunday with sessions at 11am and 2pm (Quarterfinals). The semi finals and finals will take place at Paisley IBC over the weekend of 23/24 January.