Bowls: Marshall’s California dream win

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Robert MARSHALL has returned from California with a suntan and to a hero’s welcome at Slateford Bowling Club with the 47-year-old having skipped Jim Meikle of Lesmahagow to the Michael Ashton Phillips international Pairs title.

Marshall’s first visit to the United States also saw him reach the final of the Singles, and he can be considered an unlucky loser against John McGuinness of England.

Top international players representing England, Wales, Canada, China, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Australia, and the US joined the Scots in the tournament played in Orange County.

Marshallsaid: “The climate was hot and sunny, the speed of the greens was fast, the quality of oppositions was first class, the locals were fantastic hosts, and it was a brilliant experience to be part of it all.”

It is unusual for the Pairs to rank higher than the Singles but it is considered the main title of the MAP tournament so it is a great achievement that the Meikle/Marshall partnership extended Scotland’s winning sequence to four years in a row.

Marshall and Meikle defeated USA stars Joe Michael Siddall and Joe Regan by two shots in the final to follow in the footsteps of Darren Burnett and Willie Wood (2008), Iain McLean and Thomas Mann (2009), and Martyn Rice and Robert Grant (2010).

“The second last-end was a big moment for me as the opposing skip ditched the jack to hold two shots but I managed to kill both with a last-bowl draw and that put us four up going into the final end,” described Marshall.

The semi-final had also been a testing affair against another USA pair in the shape of Charlie Herbert and Steve Nelson but a nailbiting climax saw Scotland card a single at the last to clinch a two-shot victory.

The Singles preceded the Pairs and Marshall won six of his nine games to scrape into the semi-final stage in second place, then he was 11-7 down to Jim Meikle before producing a grandstand finish to win 15-11.

Marshall had lost 15-10 to John McGuinness of England in their section clash and his quest for revenge in the final almost succeeded, but a couple of vital breaks went against him and he lost 15-13.