Balerno quartet win National Ladies title at Ayr

Ladies Fours title winners from Balerno with their prize
Ladies Fours title winners from Balerno with their prize
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Edinburgh has celebrated national title glory at the Scottish Bowls championships being played at Ayr Northfield with the Ladies Seniors Fours crown captured in great style by the Balerno rink of Anne Blake, Mabel Jackson, Margaret Turner, and skip Helen Girdler.

Balerno raised the expectations of their strong fanbase with an encouraging 3, 2 start to their final against the Maxwelltown opposition of Maureen Jackson, Alison Fair, Isobel Moffat and Angie Donaldson.

The early exchanges soon levelled out and it was game on at 6-6 after seven ends, however, Girdler and Co set the pulse rates racing with successive doubles to lead 10-6 and then answered the loss of a single with an exhilarating 4 that made clear space to 14-7.

The loss of a double to 9 might have encouraged a dose of the jitters in front of a large crowd but the Balerno response was to kill any menace by triggering the victory salute with a commanding 3, 3, finish to win 20-9 and be hailed Champions of Scotland.

The earlier semi-final against Perth West End was a terrific affair with Balerno being tested against the collar at 10-7 down after 10 ends. However, the question of mental toughness under pressure was answered by five singles on the trot to cross the line as 12-10 winners.

The Edinburgh banner was also present in the final of the Men’s Seniors Singles with 63-year-old Maitland star Brian Higgins booking his place in the final with a 21-9 win over Kenny Brown of Inchinnan, having singed the Northfield surface to lead 17-2.

Higgins made a promising start in the final to lead Ian Garioch of Lochlands 12-7 after nine ends, however, a devastating change of fortune was reflected in the loss of 4, 3, 2, 3 that sentenced the Edinburgh challenger to a 21-12 defeat in 15 ends.

“I fell out of the game in such an abrupt fashion that it mystifies me but I have no excuses, my opponent did come on to a stronger game and deserves his win, I have had a great run to the final,” reflected Higgins.

Castlepark’s bid to reach the final of the Mixed Pairs came to grief with East Lothian champions Mags Thomson and Jamie Frame knocked out by Carla and Colin Banks of Inverurie who then captured the title with a 21-13 win over Janice Grant and Allan Barrie of Kirkintilloch.

The Ladies Junior Singles is now a Lothian-free-zone with 2016 champion Megan Kivlin of East Lothian Co-op losing 21-10 to Dawn Anderson of Newton Park and Tanfield’s Colette Thomson edged out by Katie Preston of Blackhill in a 21-19 thriller.

The commencement of play in the mainstream events of the Pairs and Fours pitched Colinton against Kirkliston and the the bragging rights went to Edinburgh with John and David Fisher scoring a 20-11 win over Robbie Cuthill and John Aitken.

Craigentinnny made it a first round double for the Capital with Gordon Bold and Willie McDonald holding the edge from 10-9 to defeat Mount Vernon 14-11 while Steven Anderson and Kern Gallagher of Dunbar cruised to a 21-9 win over Denny; Polton lost 22-9 to Dalzell.

The Tanfield Ladies Pair of Tracey Breslin and Erin Gornall had a lightening run of 6, 6, 7 to lead 20-11 after nine ends but were thunderstruck from 22-14 when their Larbert opposition pipped them 23-22 with a storming finish of 4, 1, 3, 1.

Sisters Leanne and Lauren Baillie of Cockenzie & Port Seton launched their bid for a fifth title triumph with the 22-8 scalp of Polmuir while Sighthill duo Kathleen Barr and Hilda Melrose survived a 17-15 battle with Marchmount.

West Lothian sisters Delia Flannigan and Angie Uttley of Glenmavis – champions in 2007 – opened with a 19-2 win over Aberchirder and were joined in the second round by Lorraine Grant and Moira Bisset of Gilmerton who defeated Alford, 21-12.

The Edinburgh Northern father and son Fours line-up of Andy Reid (lead), Jamie Reid (third), Gordon Wilson Snr (second), and Gordon Wilson Jnr (skip) opened with a bang to lead 7-0 then beat Airdrie Central, 15-12.

Other Fours results: Carrick Knowe 21 Westhill 16; East Calder 14 Garelochhead 13; Gilmerton 19 Bishopbriggs 9; East Linton 12 Montrose 16.

Ladies Fours: Tanfield 12 Dumbarton 16; Parkside 13 Gourock Park 15; Cockenzie & Port Seton 17 Rothienorman 16; Eskmills 17 Kilmarnock Portland 14; Linlithgow 16 Kingswood 12.