Bowls: Games hero Marshall shines in Dalkeith

Alex Marshall brought his Scotland form to the fore. Pic: Neil Hanna
Alex Marshall brought his Scotland form to the fore. Pic: Neil Hanna
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Commonwealth Games gold-medal hero Alex Marshall produced his renowned range of skills to skip Graeme Archer and Billy Peacock to the champions prize in the hotly-contested Invitation Triples event sponsored by M&F Funeral Services at Dalkeith indoor bowls stadium.

Midlothian IBC staged the event, which featured 16 triples starting off playing round-robin style in four sections of four, after which the trios skipped by Marshall, Colin Walker, JJ Watson and Neil Speirs qualified for the knockout stage.

The final showdown produced a David and Goliath encounter, with giants of the sport in the shape of Archer, Peacock and Marshall fighting it out with dark-horse trio Kenny Bald Jnr, Craig Watson and John J Watson from Fife.

Marshall carded a double on the opening end, but Watson retaliated with two cracking draws to go 4-3 up after three.

Hard-earned singles were exchanged to 5-4 on ends four and five, putting the outcome into the melting pot entering end six, where sizzling play from Marshall and his front-two saw them emerge red-hot favourites thanks to a game-changing count of 4.

Marshall and Co entered the seventh and final end defending a handsome 5-shot lead and finished with a cracking double to clinch a superb 11-4 victory.

The semi-finals produced the match of the day, with Marshall skipping Archer and Peacock against the defending champions Calum Logan, Thomas Mann and Neil Speirs. It was a thrilling rerun of their epic 2014 semi-final battle.

Marshall gained his revenge with a nail-biting 5-3 victory over his fellow 2014 gold medal rink-mate in the Fours, but to do so the five-times World Singles Champion had to serve up a miraculous game-changer.

Speirs and Co led 3-1 after four ends then held shot on end five, but Marshall sparked tremendous applause with a neat trail that was perfectly judged and earned him a two-shot reward to stay in the game at 3-3.

Marshall and Co edged a single at the next to lead 4-3 then playing the last carded another single to clinch a two shot win.

The second semi saw local favourites in the shape of full caps trio Ronnie Duncan, David Peacock and Colin Walker narrowly lose a thriller 10-9 against the surprise package Fife trio skipped by JJ Watson.

Section placing:

Section 1: Alex Marshall MBE 6 +20; Paul Innes 4 +4; Stacey Laidlaw 2 +0; Scott Runciman 0 –24.

Section 2: Colin Walker 4+10; Drew Pearson 4 + 0; Craig Adamson 2 – 2; Ellen Falkner 2 –8.

Section 3: JJ Watson 4 +14; Jack 
Macnab 4 + 0; Darren Burnett 2-3: Sponsors A&F Funeral Services 2-11.

Section 4: Neil Speirs 6 +30; Derek 
Oliver 4 +4; AJ Knight 2 +10; Tony 
Abernethy 0-44.