Ewan Fallen has brought national title glory to East Lothian Indoor Bowling Club with the excitingly talented 23-year old capturing The Scottish Junior Singles crown with two magnificent performances in the showpiece climax to the Championship staged at Paisley.
Fallen’s wins over Connor Milne of Turriff in the semi finals and Derek Ferguson of Auchinleck in the final were accomplished in traumatic and dramatic style with defeat in both at one stage looking more than a probability.
“I felt more than a bit stunned when presented with the national silverware and holding it aloft but the passage of time is allowing the significance of my triumph to sink in and yes I am enjoying the feeling of being crowned the Under 25 singles champion of Scotland”, said Fallen in later reflection. Fallen is the third budding star at East Lothian to bring the coveted title back to ‘the garden county’ as he follows in the footsteps of Derek Oliver (2006) and Wayne Hogg whose double triumph in 2004 and 2005 was augmented by him winning the British Isles title in 2005.
The British Isles Title is the next individual target for Fallen and that opportunity knocks for him at Llanelli come the middle of March but prior to that he adds to his six previous caps when part of the Under 25 Scotland team defending the Home Championship title at Bristol IBC later next month.
Paisley heralded Fallen’s first experience of parading his skills in the lions den arena of national championship play and it looked like being a bapbtism of fire with a slow start bringing the EL challenger under 1-8 pressure after four ends. Fallen was still operating off the back foot at 15-6 down at which stage he later reflected “ Connor was getting the better of me with his two leading bowls on a short-ish jack length so my head was saying just hang in there and get yourself into respectable double figures”. The exit door still beckoned at 18-10 down but Fallen remained fortified by a strong mental toughness and a growing confidence stimulated by a better consistency of weight flowing from greatly improved lead bowls.
“I brought the mat up the carpet at the first opportunity and the tactic paid me a massive dividend in the shape of carding a run of 1, 1, 2, 2, 1, 1 that put me bang in contention at 18-18”. Milne – no mean player with 12 junior caps, more to come, and a full cap debut in March – responded with a cracking double to 20 to regain the driving seat but Fallen produced a grandstand finish in the shape of brilliant a ‘chap and lie’ on end 24 for a three shot reward and a 21-20 victory.
The final against 25 year old Derek Ferguson of Auchinleck – who had flirted with Hibs when a promising teenage footballer – was a retesting of the Fallen nerve with a 9-2 then 11-5 deficit bringing the East Lothian champion under immediate pressure. “I didn’t press any panic buttons as I had been there before and sure enough I started to make steady inroads that closed me to 12-14 then I benefited from a purple patch spell of 1, 1, 2, 2, 2 that earned me a 20-14 supremacy”.
Fallen had lain for the title on three occasions but had been denied by a resilient opponent however the victory salute was triggered on end 24 with a dominating build up of the head yielding a single, a 21-16 victory, and an eruption of delight from a large East Lothian support. “My dad was reduced to a nervous wreck during the course of both my games but I had to keep my cool and that is a lesson you learn when mixing it with great names like Tattie (Marshall), Willie Wood, Graham Robertson, Billy Mellors, Scott Kennedy, and others at East Lothian IBC”.