Bowls: Leith star in command at National champs

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Day one of the Bowls Scotland National Championships at Ayr Northfield was mostly a disappointing one for Edinburgh challengers, however, Nicky Brown of Leith BC did bring cheer with his victory in the Junior Singles.

Brown showed no signs of nerves from the outset and blazed a 3, 1, 2, 1, 2 trail to lead Steven Nicol of Strathmore 9-0, however, he did come under rising pressure at 10-7 before powering to a 21-7 win in 17 ends.

Dean Fleming of Currie carried the District 12 banner and, although losing to Jeff Penrose of Port William, put up a bold show to come from 13-4 down and give himself a chance at 
16-18 before conceding three singles exit 21-16 in 26 ends.

Calum Logan of Kirkliston carried the West Lothian banner into the second round with a strong performance to beat Sean Welsh of Blacklands 21-9 in 16 ends. He plays Penrose next.

Grant Thomson of East Linton carries the confidence of the East Lothian camp and he showed why when moving into top gear at 12-9 to accelerate to a 21-10 victory in 20 ends against Richard Linton of Lockerbie.

The Midlothian banner is represented by Jamie Hanlan of Bonnyrigg and he earned praise from his support when zipping from 4-4 to stitch up Colin Morrison of Whitevale, 21-9 in just 15 ends.

The Pairs discipline proved to be a good hunting ground for Edinburgh with Pilrig going through. The Pilrig partnership of Chris Steven and Darren McKenny were slow off the mark to trail 8-2 but burst onto the scene with a magnificent count of 7 then added 1, 1, 1, 5, 5 to cross 22-8 before triumphing 23-17 over Tarbolton. West End created excitement of a different nature with Donnie Gilbertson and Moray Tait slipping from 10-6 up to 12-10 down before conjuring up a magic 1, 3 finish to beat Stronvaar, 14-12.

Alex Marshall lost a 6 at the second last but still skipped his Gifford partner David Sked to a 24-20 win over Rosehearty while his world stage pal Paul Foster of Troon Portland survived an 18-17 thriller against Alyth. West Lothian and Midlothian both lost.

The ladies’ version of the Pairs included 15-13 win for Lorraine Livingstone and Cathy Ward of Hillside against St Vincent, but Eleanor Campbell and Kate McVey of Bainfield were never behind until conceding a double at the last that cost them a 14-13 defeat from Crosshill.

It was a disappointing day for Bainfield who also lost by a single shot in the men’s Seniors Fours and by 5 in the ladies’ Seniors Fours.

Shona Johnstone was a big hope for Edinburgh in the ladies’ Singles but the former Champion of Champions and Edinburgh Open Champion from Tipperlinn failed to get to grips with the pace of the green and made a 21-17 exit to Christine Mclellan of Lesmahagow.

Johnstone made a horror start to trail 12-2 but managed to get hold of the mat to change the length and transformed the scorecard 17-12 in her favour, however, she lost the mat then the match to a 3, 2, 3, 1 finish from her opponent.

Edinburgh lost their other challenger in the Singles when Jean Tough of Leith failed to cope with four times Balgreen Open Champion Angela Uttley of Blackburn who upped her game from 8-6 to triumph 21-8.

World stage star Lorna Smith of Linlithgow also excited the West Lothian support with the South African-tutored player producing an impressive performance at the 21-6 expense of the highly competitive Dot Low of Polton and Midlothian.

Bowls Journalist Anne Dunwoodie of Queen’s Park, Glasgow, merits a mention for her 21-14 win over Val McGregor of Lochgelly and even entertained the banking with a wrong bias while other notables to progress included Jean Sykes of Cumnock and Seona Black of Bonnybridge.