Club named after Commonwealth bowls hero Alex Marshall

The Alex Marshall Bowling Arena. Picture: Toby Williams

The Alex Marshall Bowling Arena. Picture: Toby Williams

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HE’S won medals around the world and became a national hero at last year’s Commonwealth Games, but the latest honour for bowling champion Alex “Tattie” Marshall is a little closer to home.

On Saturday, the bowling area at his own club in East Lothian will be renamed the Alex Marshall Arena to 
celebrate his achievements.

Fellow members at East Lothian Indoor Bowling at Meadowmill, Tranent, will hold a short ceremony to unveil the new name above the scoreboard before their game against Falkirk.

Tattie – who won two gold medals at Glasgow 2014 and famously gave a “get it up ye” salute after winning the match against England – is delighted with the move.

The 48-year-old plays regularly for the Meadowmill team and represents the club at major tournaments.

He said: “I’ve been a ­member for about 15 years now. I don’t play at the club as much as I used to because of work commitments.

“But when it’s big events, I’m always down there first thing in the morning, practising.

“It’s the greatest feeling stepping out on to the carpet, and when it’s your club and it’s named after you, that’s going to feel very special. It’s a great honour.”

Edinburgh-born Tattie – who started bowling at the age of eight – used to be a member at Bainfield Bowling in Hutchison Crossway, off ­Gorgie Road.

“Then I married an East Lothian girl – she was from Gifford and I was from Edinburgh, so we thought we could find somewhere in between and ended up in Tranent,” he said. “We’re just five minutes from the stadium.”

His wife, Diane, will be there with him on Saturday.

“She is my number one supporter,” he said. “She travels all over with me.”

At the ceremony, club president Peter Fallon will deliver a short speech and Alex will be asked to say a few words in response.

Tattie is not the East Lothian club’s only bowling legend. Willie Wood, who won a string of Commonwealth Games medals over several decades, was honorary president and the club’s lounge is named after him.

The champion says life has been hectic since his Commonwealth Games wins. “I don’t think we’ve ever had so much press coverage for the sport.”

He has also spent four-and-a-half months bowling in Australia, where he says competition is “fierce”.

East Lothian club secretary Scott Kennedy: “After Alex’s success at the Commonwealth Games and then winning the World Indoor Singles title for the sixth time in January, we thought as his home club it was only right to recognise his achievements over the years.

“Everyone is very proud of him and having Alex has helped bring younger people in. We’ve got an active schools programme and we’re getting lots of youth members.”

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com