West Lothian claimed one mainstream Scottish Title in the Bowls Scotland National Championships played at Ayr Northfield last week and it was captured in the Ladies Pairs by Sandra Steven and Kirsteen McLelland in a dramatic climax to their final.
The high profile Uphall Station duo reign as the Pairs Champions of Scotland for a record making fifth time, adding to their triumphs of 2006, 2008, 2014, and 2016 by surviving a nail-biting 20-19 battle with Jenny Agnew and Liz O’Neil of Townholm.
All looked hunky dory for the Station having steamed into a commanding 16-4 lead then 20-8; but their fire went out causing sweat to form on their brows with the alarming loss of 2, 5, 3, to come under 20-18 pressure playing the last end.
When the Townholm skip fired the jack into the ditch for a hold of 3 title snatching shots there was panic in the ranks watching on the banking; but not on the green as McLelland ever so brilliantly cut the loss down to a single with a last bowl draw for second shot. Phew!
The path to the final for the defending champions started with a 20-11 win over Baillieston followed by wins over 4 times champions Leanne and Lauren Baillie of Cockenzie & Port Seton, 15-12, Longside, 27-8, then Dumbarton, 13-10, in the semi finals. Hopes that international star Lorraine Craig of Glenmavis could reign as Singles Champion for a third time were dashed when the winner of the 2007 and 2009 title’s crashed out to a 21-10 defeat from Seona Black of Larbert in the second round. Paige Mackie of Pumpherston beat her Currie rival, 21-17, in the first round of the Junior Singles but then made a 21-10 exit to Darvel. The Glenmavis Triple of Delia Flannigan, Jane Wing, and Angie Uttley beat Kemback, 22-8, then made a 19-15 exit to Cowdenbeath.
Day 3 of the Bowls Scotland National Championships played at Ayr Northfield last week produced a strong title winning performance from Angela Uttley of Glenmavis-Bathgate in the final of the Ladies Seniors Singles. Uttley – a 21-20 runner up to Lorna Smith in the 2012 Singles proper and a four times winner of the Edinburgh Open at Balgreen is a proven Singles expert in the mainstream of the sport so was a leading contender for the stardom in the Seniors ranks.
The final against East Lothian star Janet Fairnie of Castlepark (Prestonpans) lasted 19-ends with Uttley including three full house counts of 4 as she powered to the title with a commanding 21-8 victory. “I won the mainstream pairs title with my sister Delia in 2009 then was just touched off by Lorna (Smith) in the 2012 main singles final so it is another thrill of a lifetime to be crowned the seniors singles champion of Scotland”. Uttley had faced mega star Margaret Letham of Burnbank-Hamilton in the morning semi finals and flagged up the quality of the form she was in by beating the 1999 Singles proper champion, 21-20, in 23-ends. Letham looked well set for the final when holding a 20-13 lead but Uttley escaped from jail in spectacular fashion – dashing to 21 with a super run of 1, 3, 2, 2. Fairnie booked her place in the final with a strong performance to beat Kim Ross of Lanark, 21-10, in 20-ends having hit the lids to race into an 18-5 lead. Uttley’s passage to the title included a first round scare having conjured up a magic count of 3 to snatch a 21-19 win over Fiona Kerr of Bellshill & Mossend, 21-19. A 21-7 win over Janet Heatlie of Lutton Place in the second round was followed by a 21-12 triumph over Seona Black of Larbert.
West Lothian were in with a shout to celebrate a title double but from 8-5 up in the final of the Ladies Seniors Fours the rink of Anne Waterson, Diane Ashenhurst, Margaret Armstrong, and Jessie Halliday collapsed to 8-18 and lost 18-12 to Strathmiglo. Their path to the final saw Whitburn open with a 17-15 win over Cults then beat Stranraer, 17-7, and Abbey, 15-13, before continuing to thrill their WL support with a super 23-13 triumph over Cardonald in the semi finals.
The star studded Uphall Station gents rink of Frazer Muirhead, Stewart Getty, David Lamb, and Greg Logan had the DNA to emerge from the Bowls Scotland Championships as title winners in the Fours so it was a major disappointment when they were outgunned 16-13 by Huntly in the semi finals.
Andy Dunnett of Queensferry also had strong career form to make him a serious challenger for Singles glory but nosed dived from 10-8 up in the second round to a 21-10 defeat from Jack Small of Crossgates.
Darren Pearce of Kirkliston suffered a 21-5 exit in the first round of the Junior Singles; Derek Mairs and Jimmy Mallon of Uphall Station lost 17-10 to Northfield in the second round of the Pairs; while Ian Watson, Davie Ross and Sandy McDougall of Glenmavis suffered 11-9 despair at the hands of Blantyre in the first round of the Triples.
Play in the Mixed Pairs saw Sandra Steven and Richard Mark of Uphall Station reach the third round were piped 13-12 by a last bowl winner served up by the skip of London Road Foundry.