Last weekend marked a historic day in Scottish bowling when East Lothian legendary figure Willie Wood MBE pulled on a shirt for his beloved country for the very last time after almost fifty years’ service. The 78-year-old announced his retirement from international duty prior to the commencement of last weekend’s British Isles international series in Llanelli IBC, Wales.
He retired from international duty on the outdoor bowling scene a number of years ago after amassing a staggering 134 caps over 45 years of play. Indoors he achieved his first cap at Teeside in 1972 and his final appearance against England last Saturday afternoon marked his 93rd and record extending appearance for his country (18 for Edinburgh IBC and 75 for East Lothian IBC). The Scottish Indoor Bowling Association made a special presentation to Willie at special event staged last Friday evening at the Scottish team’s base in Swansea and he received a hospitality package at his beloved Heart of Midlothian FC. The SIBA also announced they would be donating a trophy that will be named after Willie and will be awarded to the Scottish Player of the Series at future home international series. The trophy will first be presented in Belfast next March. A spokesperson for the SIBA said, “We are proud to have had the pleasure of having Willie as part of our team for such a long period of time. He is truly a great ambassador for his club, country, the sport and a fantastic role model for all current bowlers and for those in the future – a true Scottish sporting legend!”
Unfortunately, Wood could not sign off his glittering international career on a winning note as along with fellow East Lothian teammates Scott Kennedy, Derek Oliver, Billy Mellors and Alex Marshall MBE they were part of a Scotland side that had to settle for runners-up position behind winners England. The opening game of the series saw the Scots battle their way past a stubborn Ireland side by an overall shots win of 128-105 and followed that up with a very confident 141-97 win over Wales to set up a final game winner takes all clash with England who had also won their opening two matches. Scotland made an encouraging start in the title decider but it was the start of a false dawn as England slowly but surely took complete control of proceedings and ran out convincing 122-100 winners. On the overall performance ladder, the rink skipped by Alex Marshall MBE signed off the series as the top Scottish rink with a 100% record and an impressive shot margin back of +32. Scott Kennedy played third in a rink skipped by Stewart Anderson that recorded two wins and one defeat while Jamie Higgins and Willie Wood MBE formed the front-end of a rink skipped by Paul Foster MBE and they enjoyed fine wins over Ireland and Wales but lost out by a 10 shot margin against England. Derek Oliver skipped a rink that included garden county teammate Billy Mellors at third to victory over Ireland but suffered two narrow defeats against Wales and England.
Scottish Cup fever returns to the East Lothian IBC men’s side camp with the temperature of the record six time champions rising ahead of tomorrow’s (Saturday) tough semi-final challenge against fellow premier league opposition in the shape of Midlothian at Stirling IBC. East Lothian will go into the local derby clash as slight favourites but Midlothian performed excellently in their recent premier league section and ran eventual winners Blantyre very close. High profile figure Alex Marshall MBE makes a welcome return as one of the four skips – the others being fellow caps Derek Oliver, Scott Kennedy and Billy Mellors. Veteran figure Willie Wood MBE also returns to the line-up but the experienced duo of Dougie Berwick and Jamie Gordon are enforced absentees. A slightly re-structured line-up reads: M.Johnston, A.Burt, J.Higgins, A.Marshall MBE skip M.Higgenbotham, S.W.Thomson, E.Fallen, D.Oliver skip L.Middler, W.W.Wood MBE, J.Mower, B.Mellors skip A.Jeffrey, G.Blair, G.Robertson, S.Kennedy skip/capt
The qualifying action in the Jock Brodie Senior Challenge Cup, sponsored by Norman T Craig and Co-operative Funeralcare, continued at the Alex Marshall Arena last Wednesday and Bainfield is the table toppers in the A section following a hard fought 6-2 win against Tweedbank. The other match played was a B section encounter between Border rivals Teviotdale and Berwickshire and it was Teviotdale who emerged victorious by a scoreline of 7-1. The action continued on Wednesday and it was all to play for in Section B when Midlothian tackled West Lothian and current table toppers Perth face Teviotdate with all four sides in with a chance of qualifying for the semi-finals.
A senior side from East Lothian IBC have progressed through to the final of the Central Seniors District Top Six following a hard fought victory over Lanarkshire in last Saturday’s semi-final action staged at Abbeyview IBC in Dunfermline. Lessel Middler got the garden county ‘auld yins’ off to the perfect start when he registered a 21-14 triumph in his singles clash and victory was assured when B.J.Smith and George Gray won their pairs encounter 19-16. In the triples Mike Trenholme, Davie Pryde and Ronnie Douglas lost 14-11. Abbeyview provide the opposition in Sunday’s final with the action being staged at Fintry IBC in Glasgow and kicking off at 2pm. The team has one enforced change for the final with John P Hamilton replacing the unavailable Davie Pryde.
High expectations that the ultra-talented youth side from East Lothian IBC would capture the SYIBA Top Ten in the finals climax at Prestwick IBC last Sunday – ended in disappointment. The garden county youngsters went down 6-2 against the host club side in the semi-final with David Young and Lewis Betts grabbing the consolation win in the pairs. To their credit, the youngsters did not let the disappointment get to them and bounced back with a great performance winning the 3rd/4th playoff game against Midlothian 6-2.
Turning attention to the fast approaching outdoor season and bowling members of Gifford Bowling & Sports Club are reminded that their AGM will take place on Sunday April 3 at 2pm.