Broxburn BC legend George Sneddon can presently be seen on TV sunning himself on the Gold Coast of Australia and it’s a major bonus that the Team Manager of Scotland’s Bowls Team is celebrating Commonwealth Games Gold Medal success.Read More
Sneddon – who himself struck Gold in the Pairs as lead to Alex (Tattie) Marshall in the 2002 Games held in Manchester – enjoyed a rink side seat as Scotland trio Ronnie Duncan, Derek Oliver, and Darren Burnett scaled the heights to conquer the host nation in a hotly contested final of the Triples.
Australia – considered the top-bowling nation in the Southern Hemisphere – were firm and form favourites to capture Gold playing in front of their ain folk; but beware the Scots when The Lion Rampant roars.
The final developed into a classic confrontation of epic proportions that climaxed with a thrilling grandstand finish of 3, 3 that swept Scotland to a dramatic 19-14 victory. Whilst Duncan, of Bonnyrigg, was competitive against a skilled opposition lead, and Oliver, of Cockenzie & Port Seton, consistently brilliant at second, it was Arbroath super star Burnett that produced conversion from another galaxy. Yet the signals on the opening end of the final spelled out danger ahead for a Scotland trio faced with a build up 5 shots against; but that disaster was mitigated to just 2 by a bold and rewarding last bowl strike from Burnett.
It was a major bonus that Scotland quickly settled into the game and impressed to lead 5-4 after seven ends then Burnett served up a brilliant ‘chap and lie’ effort to card 2 shots that kept Australia on the back foot (7-4). End 11 emphasised the menace posed by a fired up host nation as despite Burnett breaking up the head with a fierce strike Scotland ended up conceding 3 shots and Australia hit the front with a cross to 9-8.
The hard fought ‘tit for tat’ exchanges that followed saw Scotland regain the lead at 12-11 after 14 ends then a spectacular ‘take out’ from Burnett produced a hold of 4 until the Australian skip struck 3 of them out of the head. (13-11). Australia kept the sizzling boiling pot at meltdown temperature with a count of 3 to jump into a 14-13 lead then the prospect of gold turning into silver reared its head with Scotland facing a count of 3 against them on end 17. It took more nerves of steel and more awesome ability for Burnett to take on the challenge of a bare jack – and strike it explosively into the ditch for a complete transformational hold of 3 shots. Austrlian skip Aron Sheriff – four times their Interntational Bowler of the Year – demonstrated his exceptional sill and nerve to kill them all with an inch perfect draw to the edge of the ditch. But Burnett -in yet another game-changing moment of nail biting drama – targeted the single Aussie bowl and bulleted it into the ditch with an explosive strike.
The 3 shot reward thrust Scotland back into the driving seat (16-14) then an intense final end saw strong build up play from Oliver lead to a count of 3 and a 19-14 victory. “Winning Gold at The Commonwealth Games is a tremendous thrill – it is the first time we have played as a triple in a major event and it takes an extra special performance to beat Australia on their home patch”, reflected Burnett.
The defeat of defending champions Paul Foster MBE and Alex (Tattie) Marshall MBE by Wales in the final of the Pairs was a massive coupon buster and major disappointment to stunned Scotland camp. It is greatly to the credit of the sport in Scotland that The Silver Medallists accepted their shock 12-10 defeat in good grace whilst in the big picture the attraction of Bowls was enhanced by the message that underdogs in this sport are always in with a chance.
West Lothian have a second figure of high profile actively involved in the Bowls event with Gary Smith of Linlithgow BC on duty as CEO of ruling body World Bowls Ltd.