Bowls: Hat-trick of title for Lothians at national champs

Billy Peacock, left, and Colin Walker
Billy Peacock, left, and Colin Walker
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National title triumphs for Midlothian, East Lothian and Balbardie in West Lothian represented a glorious hat-trick for the region in a memorable climax to the finals of the Scottish indoor bowls Championship events played at Coatbridge.

The Midlothian partnership of Billy Peacock and Colin Walker captured the Gents 4Bowl Pairs Crown while the East Lothian rink of Jamie Higgins, Joe Mower, Scott Kennedy and Derek Oliver etched their names on the silverware of the Gents Fours.

And ace duo Sharon Leitch and Lorraine Craig of the Balbardie club, based in Bathgate, were flushed with the high emotions of title success when turning up trumps for an exhilarating third time in the Ladies 4Bowl Pairs.

The championships did, however, have its disappointments and it came two-fold for the Midlothian camp, with Paul Innes losing his semi-final of the Under-21 Singles and the rink of Susan Liddle, Alison Plenderleith, Sandra McLeish and Stacey McDougall edged out in the final of the Ladies Fours.

• Midlothian’s challenge in the Gents Pairs got off to a brilliant start in their semi-final, with Walker skipping Peacock into an 11-2 lead after eight ends, then advancing to 15-5 after 11 against Derek Murray and Raymond Clark of Fraserburgh.

Entering the finishing straight with a 15-10 lead, the star duo from The Dalkeith Stadium produced a grandstand run of 1, 1, 1, 1, 3 that swept them into the final with a 22-10 victory.

The final presented an awesome challenge in the shape of title-holders Craig Lindsay and Paul Foster MBE of Prestwick, but it was the cheer leaders from the Midlothian camp that were first to be enthused in the shape of a 6-1 lead after five ends.

Leads of 11-4 and 13-8 continued to reflect the supremacy of Peacock and Walker, then when brought under pressure at 13-12 they answered the challenge with a 2, 1, (1), finish to trigger a 16-13 title winning salute.

“I won this title with Ronnie Duncan in 2014 and am thrilled to have won it for a second time,” said Walker. “However, I am particularly over the moon for Billy (Peacock) as his form over the entire campaign was dazzling and his build up play giving me loads of opportunities.”

• East Lothian bridged a 13-year gap when welcoming the return of the Gents Fours Trophy to the gleaming silverware cabinet of their Meadowmill Stadium and the final countdown was achieved at the expense of Coatbridge and Galleon.

Oliver gave his forthcoming medal winning expedition to Australia’s Gold Coast a great morale boost by skipping his front-three to a latest national crown celebration with a battling 21-18 win over John McCabe Jnr in the final.

A game-changing highlight saw Oliver conjure up a magic two-bowl take out for a three-shot reward and a 12-10 lead on end 13, then skip his rink to a count of 4 that established a six-shot advantage. With the score at 16-16, the EL four answered the heat with a sizzling finish of 1, 3, (2), 1 to bask in the acclaim of national champions.

• Sharon Leitch and Lorraine Craig of Balbardie were driven by a fierce ambition to add to their previous title celebrations of 2006 and 2011 in the ladies 4Bowl Pairs Championship and rose to the occasion with wins over Stonehaven and Whiteinch.

Helped by the count of a magnificent 7 to lead 19-12 they went on the beat Rosie Wood and Cathy McIntosh 24-18, then stayed on from 14-7 to beat Anne Marie Taggart and Laura Welsh, 21-16, in the final.

• Paul Innes made a 21-10 exit to eventual champion Darren Weir of Prestwick in his Under-21 Singles semi-final, while the Midlothian ladies rink lost 17-14 to Lynn Stein of East Fife in the final.