LOTHIANS bowlers face their moment of truth at Ayr Northfield this week as the champions from all 32 bowling districts in Scotland bid to capture national title glory.
The Singles discipline remains the holy grail of the event and it is ten years back since Billy Mellors, under the banner of Goldenacre, claimed the men’s crown for the Capital.
Edinburgh is represented this year by David Fisher of Colinton (District 15) and Martin Lewis of Brunstane (District 14).
Fisher is the stalwart figure of the E&L Hamilton Trophy team and a former District Singles champion. He has experience of the challenges presented by national stage demands.
Lewis, a former club champion at Portobello and now Brunstane, emerged a dark-horse winner of District 14 but impressed with his battling qualities in producing nail-biting wins against Colin Bell of Hillside and, in the final, Scott Rogers of Craigentinny.
East Lothian star Derek Oliver, a high-profile Scotland cap from Cockenzie & Port Seton, deserves to be considered a title contender.
Peter Lynch of Whitburn and West Lothian is also a player of proven Singles ability but has flirted in and out of the sport with his proudest claim being his 2003 capture of the WL Masters title.
Lynch is a product of the sadly-now-defunct Fauldhouse camp that saw his pals Willie Francis lose the 2000 Singles final to John McCrorie of Tranent, while Sandy McDougall captured the 2009 Pairs title at the last-bowl expense of Tanfield.
Gary Robertson doesn’t enjoy a high-profile outside of Midlothian but the Gilmerton star arrives at Ayr with the scalp of Elite Scotland squad ace Colin Walker in the District Final and, with that form, he needs fear no-one.
The battle for the Junior Singles Crown includes two leading lights from the Edinburgh camp in the shape of Tanfield’s Liam McKay and Stephen Pringle of Carrick Knowe – both of whom are richer and wiser from their 2015 campaign in the same event.
The wider Lothian area is also represented by talented emerging stars in the shape of Gordon White of Aberlady, Mark Yuill of Deantown, and Calum Black of Uphall Station. John Fleming Jnr of Port Glasgow has carved out a growing national reputation for himself and is the headline name in the event.
East Lothian have their glorious 2015 National Pairs champions, Jim Bonner and his son-in-law Brian Young, back in the spotlight while the Edinburgh focus will be on the Pilrig partnership of Graeme Gow and Darren McKenny, as well as Graham Pringle and 2008 champion James Hogg of Carrick Knowe. Midlothian have elite squad star Ronnie Duncan of Bonnyrigg forming a strong partnership with John Stevenson while Jack Murphy leads to his father Alan for Bellsburn and West Lothian.
A feature of the Triples is the challenge from the Slateford trio comprising the hugely talented and intensely competitive Ramsay brothers in the shape of Ronnie, Andrew and Gordon.
Queensberry is double-handed with the prominent EBL Division 1 club fielding Scott Walker, Frank O’Reilly and John Kidd in the Triples while Brian Pollard skips Ryan Gardner, Jamie Anderson and Grant Ramsay in the Fours.
The eye-catching representation in the Seniors Fours is Midlothian’s triumphant 2015 Kirkhill rink skipped by Andy Wilton back defending their national crown while Gordon Scott of Armadale has solid claims for West Lothian in the Singles.
THE LOTHIANS MEN’S CHALLENGE AT AYR
District 13: Peter Lynch - Whitburn
District 14: Martin Lewis -Brunstane
District 15 : David Fisher - Colinton
District 16: Gary Robertson -Gilmerton
District 17: Derek Oliver - Cockenzie & Port Seton
District 13: Calum Black - Uphall Station
District 14: Liam McKay - Tanfield
District 15: Stephen Pringle - Carrick Knowe
District 16: Mark Yuill - Deantown
District 17: Gordon White - Aberlady
District 13: Bellsburn - Jack Murphy & Alan Murphy
District 14: Pilrig - Graeme Gow & Darren Mckenny
District 15: Carrick Knowe – Graham Pringle & James Hogg
District 16: Bonnyrigg - John Stevenson & Ronnie Duncan
District 17: Tranent - Jim Bonner & Brian Young
District 13: Queensferry - Gary Grant, Neil McLean & Iain McLean
District 14: Queensberry - Scott Walker, Frank O’Reilly & John Kidd
District 15: Slateford - Ronnie Ramsay, Andrew Ramsay & Gordon Ramsay
District 16: Easthouses - Roy Borthwick, Graham Mitchell & Robert bruce
District 17: East Lothian Co-op – Craig Cochrane, Duncan Hogg & Gordon Pryde
District 13: Blackburn - William Clark, John Graham, Thomas Lee & George Reynolds
District 14: Queensberry – Ryan Gardner, Jamie Anderson, Gavin Ramsay & Brian Pollard
District 15: Carrick Knowe – Andy Beith, Keith Elder, Kevin Tennant & Darren Hush
District 16: Bonnyrigg - Daryl Dalgleish, Andrew Robertson, Scott Lees & Jamie Hanlan
District 17: Cockenzie & Port Seton – Tommy Thomson, Gordon Baillie, Steven Thomson & Craig Valentine
District 13: Gordon Scott - Armadale
District 14: Gordon Taylor - Willowbrae
District 15: Robert Manson - Mayfield
District 16: George Yuill - Easthouses
District 17: David Arnot - East Lothian Co-op
District 13: Bathgate - Graham Campbell, Alex Aitchison, John Lynas & Ian Drysdale
District 14: Willowbrae – Ian Paterson, Bert Munro, Peter Craig & Iain Pryde
District 15: Sighthill - John Houser, David Ferguson, David Connelly & Adam Melrose
District 16: Kirkhill - Alistair Robb, Jim Watson, Sam Wilkie & Andy Wilton
District 17: Dunbar - John McKellar, Tom Morrison, Jim Murray & Bobby Brunton
District 13: Bathgate - Ally Blagg & Bryan Cooper
District 14: London Road Foundry - Gillian Mackintosh & Scott Mackintosh
District 15: Sighthill - Hilda Melrose & Adam Melrose
District 16: Musselburgh Municipal – Elizabeth Greenwood & Robert Halley
District 17: Tranent - Dee Hoggan & John McCrorie
Schedule of play at Ayr Northfield:
Singles: Fri/Sat/Sun. J/Singles: Fri/Sat/Sun. Pairs: Thur/Sat/Sun. Triples: Fri/Sat/Sun. Fours: Thur/Fri/Sat/Sun. Sen Singles: Tue/Wed/Thur. Sen Fours: Tue/Wed/Thur. Mixed Pairs: Tue/Wed/Thur.