Scots suffer at hands of Auld Enemy in bowls Test match

Alex Marshall. Picture: Ray Halliday
Alex Marshall. Picture: Ray Halliday
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Scotland made a disappointing start on the opening day of the two-day indoor bowls Test Match against England at Stanley IBC in County Durham.

England came out on top in four of the five games played, winning two matches of Triples and two of Pairs, with the sole Scotland success being chalked up by Blantyre colleagues Brian Irvine and Iain McLean in the Pairs.

The Lothian partnership of Colin Walker (Mid) and Alex Marshall (East) were edged out 5-4 and 6-4 by English pair Mark Dawes and Gary R Smith.

Marshall (skip) and Walker were joined in the Triples by Brian Irvine at lead and romped to a 10-2 win in the second set, but had been piped 5-4 in the opener then lost the tie-break decider 2-0 against Louis 
Ridout, Nicky Brett and Jamie Chestney.

Paul Foster skipped Stewart Anderson and Iain McLean in the other Scotland triple, but were always against the collar in both sets and were outgunned 7-4 and 9-4 by Mervyn King, Mark Dawes and Gary R Smith.

Foster (skip) and Anderson also failed to get the measure of their opposition in the Pairs, where King and Brett were dominant with set scores of 10-6 and 9-2.

It was left to the Irvine/McLean partnership to salvage some pride for Scotland with a 7-3, 7-0 supremacy over Ridout and Chestney.

Scotland will hope to redeem themselves in today’s play with six matches of Singles featuring: Brian Irvine v Louis Ridout; Colin Walker v Jamie Chestney; Alex Marshall v Mervyn King; Paul Foster v Nicky Brett; Stewart Anderson v Mark Dawes; Iain McLean v Gary R Smith.

Meanwhile, Balbardie made a dream start to their campaign in Division 1C of the national indoor bowls league, with all four of their rinks winning in a spectacular 74-shot triumph (127-53) over Berwickshire at Bathgate.

Berwickshire are newcomers to the bowling scene in Scotland, but the team from Tweedmouth did have some talented players from the Border area in their ranks. However, they do seem to lack strength in depth.

Wins for the rinks skipped by Graeme Byrne, Ewan Shearer, Sandy McDougall and Walter McDougall were all double figure affairs, making it an encouraging start to the promotion ambitions of Balbardie.

Byrne included a purple patch spell of 1, 4, 4, 5 as he skipped Graeme Keery, Davie Ross and Diz Drysdale to a 32-17 win over Rob Paterson.

Shearer made a blitz start of 4, 6, 1, 3, 1 to lead 15-0 then skipped Lawson Trotter, John Gillogley and Gary Orr to a 28-15 win over Stuart Bebbington.

Walter McDougall included a magnificent count of 7 at end 12 as he skipped Ian Drysdale, Jim Speirs and Jimmy Mallon to a 38-8 win over Fraser Campbell.

Sandy McDougall accelerated from 10-10 to 28-12 as he skipped Peter Lynch Andy Forrest and Mark Bonar to a 30-13 win over Graham Forsyth.