Teenager Calum Darling of East Lothian IBC confirmed his status as an emerging star of the sport when he turned in two outstanding performances to capture the Under-18 Singles title at the Scottish indoor bowls Championships in Glasgow.
Darling faced 16-year-old Scottish Young Masters Champion Lee McCormack of Stirling in his semi-final and thrilled his support with a brilliant display to win 21-6.
The final against John Fleming of Inverclyde proved to be a tough test with 17-year-old Darling mostly operating on the back foot when facing defeat at 18-16 down. But he is the product of a strong family heritage in the sport and showed killer instinct by conjuring up a magic run of 1, 3, 1 to clinch a thrilling 21-18 victory.
East Lothian have an impressive hallmark of success in the history of bowls and Darling was stamping his own name on that list of triumphs by becoming the first player to bring the national Under 18 singles title to the Meadowmill stadium.
“This is the best I have seen Calum play but we know that he is a player who can go on to achieve great things in the sport and this sets him out on that road,” said his club president, Peter Fallen.
The Lothian area suffered double disappointment in the Gents Singles proper with international stars Neil Speirs of West Lothian IBC and Ronnie Duncan of Midlothian IBC both failing to progress beyond the semi-finals of the championships ‘blue riband’ event.
Speirs was expected to have too much lethal ammunition in his locker for Jason Banks of Garioch but the junior cap from Inverurie produced a 21-15 upset.
Banks rocked Speirs back onto his heels with an explosive start to lead 12-0 after seven ends and was in what looked to be a 14-5 comfort zone before the experienced 2009 finalist hit back with a purple patch streak of 1, 4, 4, 1 to cross 15-14.
It was expected within the watching banking that the massive tidal change would sweep Speirs onward to victory but Banks refused to fold and won many admirers as he rode the storm then produced his own surging run of 3, 1, 2, 1, to hit 21.
Meanwhile, Duncan had title favourite and two times champion Iain McLean of Blantyre to contend with and the task proved to be beyond him as only managed to register eight shots as his opponent raced to 21 in an explosive 14-end game.
McLean – the current holder of the national outdoor title – went on to etch his name on the silverware for an impressive third time but was certainly tested by Banks at 14-14 before clinching victory with a blitz 2, 3, 2 finish.