Glasgow 2014: Alex Marshall savours best-ever gold

Paul Foster and Alex Marshall won gold in the pairs. Pic: Andrew O'Brien
Paul Foster and Alex Marshall won gold in the pairs. Pic: Andrew O'Brien
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It was another red-letter high in the east/west coast partnership of Alex Marshall and Paul Foster, with the Scots regaining their Commonwealth Games pairs title after blitzing Malaysia’s Muhammad Hizlee Abdul Rais and Fairul Izwan Abd Muin 20-3.

Such was Marshall and Foster’s dominance that the Asian duo threw in the towel after only 15 ends of the allotted 18-end final.

For Tranent legend Marshall, it continued an amazing unbeaten run after his third Commonwealth pairs gold success.

In their last qualifying match they trailed 15-7 with three ends to play against reigning Commonwealth champions South Africa, but came back to win 16-15. They then crushed New Zealand 25-9 with three ends of play remaining and no-one will ever forget the amazing front and back toucher Marshall drew in their semi-final, once again proving the thorn in the side to pip England 16-15.

After the victory at a sun-drenched Kelvingrove, Marshall – nicknamed “Tattie” – said: “I’ve won gold at the two previous Games, but this one tops the lot. Playing in your own back yard, in Scotland, in front of your own fans, you just can’t beat it. It’s been the thrill of a lifetime.

“It’s the highlight of my career and Team Scotland have broken another record there. I think that’s the 12th gold medal they have won in total and there’s still a lot of events to go.”

Looking back on the route to gold, Marshall said: “We did think that of the other three teams in the semi-finals that England would be the most difficult to beat. We were presented with very few opportunities, but when they arose in the closing stages we just went for it.”

He added: “Our game against South Africa was a massive one and probably our hardest.”

Foster said: “To win a gold medal on your home soil is phenomenal. It’s a feeling that will live with me for the rest of my life.”

In the gold-medal play-off, the Scots were relentless from the off and closed ever door on the Malaysian challenge, striding out to an unassailable 19-0, 12-end lead before a double put the Malaysians on the card. They scored a further single on the next, but the Scots put the result out of sight with a single on the 15th and their opponents conceded.

“That was the start we wanted,” said Foster, “but the score didn’t reflect the game. They hung in throughout the match, but it was definitely our day.”

When asked if he thought Marshall and Foster were the best pair ever to grace the sport, Team Scotland head coach David Gourlay said: “The facts speak for themselves. They have won every major title on different surfaces, both indoors and outdoors and hold titles in both the Northern and Southern hemisphere. I would definitely have to say ‘yes’, they are without a doubt in my mind, simply the best.”

The Scots had little time for celebrations as they returned a short time after that golden triumph to continue their quest for glory in the fours. And along with Danderhall’s David Peacock at lead and Kirkliston’s Neil Speirs at second, the continued their winning ways with a second-round success against Kenya 16-10 and sit at the top of their section.

They continue against Fiji today while singles hopeful Darren Burnett had a bye in the singles yesterday and continues against Guernsey’s Matt le Ber today.

The second set of disciplines also got under way with the women regrouping for their pairs and triples campaigns.

Lorraine Malloy and Caroline Brown got their pairs challenge up and running, beating Samoa’s Sulami Asi and Alofa Adam 25-9 while Port Seton’s Lauren Baillie and Margaret Lethem led all the way in the triples against Papua New Guinea.

Like the men, they only have one match today with the pairs taking on Zambia and the triples meet Northern Ireland.

The Para Sports Open triples also began yesterday and Billy Allan, Michael Simpson and Kevin Wallace won 25-6 over Ahmad Rashidi Talib’s Malaysian trio and will be hoping to continue that form against Wales then England today to secure a place in the semi-final stages tomorrow. Wales also won the other section match against England 14-10.