Bowls: Midlothian stunned over Scotland snub

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The sense of amazement enveloping Dalkeith Stadium this week is matched by total disbelief that the national selection system has failed to find a place for a Midlothian IBC player in the 32-man line-up for their gents international trial team.

It has to be pointed out that top stars Ronnie Duncan and Colin Walker are counted out of the Home International picture at Llanelli come March due to outdoor Bowls Scotland representation in New Zealand.

But, given that Midlothian’s present record in the Premier League is five wins out of five while last season’s unsuccesful campaign did produce home-and-away wins over then three-in-a-row defending champions West Lothian, the feeling of injustice is strong.

“You could have knocked me down with a feather when I read the trial team announcement,” said one prominent Midlothian figure.

Edinburgh has managed to produce one eye-catching player with Colin Hutchison representing Bainfield but that means that the Capital’s Robert Marshall is again denied the opportunity of reaching the magic figure of 50 caps having been sitting on the 48-mark since the 2008 campaign.

West Lothian provide an impressive seven players in the shape of Thomas Mann, Calum Logan, Bryan Cooper, Mark Allison, James Speirs, Cameron Greer, and ex-Bainfield bowler Craig Moss.

Neil Speirs is pre-selected and joined on that list by Stewart Anderson and Iain McLean (Blantyre), Darren Burnett (Arbroath), Paul Foster MBE (Prestwick), Mike Stepney (Elgin), Derek Oliver and Alex Marshall MBE (East Lothian).

East Lothian have five players named in the trial with Scotland’s most-capped duo, Willie Wood MBE and Graham Robertson, joined by colleagues Scott Kennedy, Jamie Higgins and Billy Mellors.

The full line-up for the trial at Stirling IBC on Sunday, December 6 reads:

Rink 1: Jamie Higgins, Stuart Wylie (Ayr), Calum Logan, Scott Kennedy versus Paul Boyd (Prestwick), James Speirs, Graham Robertson, Colin Hutchison.

Rink 2: Gary Hutchison (Falkirk), Brian Russell (Headwell), Martin Wiliamson (Ardrossan) and Billy Mellors versus Jason Banks (Garioch, Cameron Greer, Steven Allan (Falkirk), Willie Wood MBE.

Rink 3: Bryan Cooper, Derek Smith (Auchinleck), Callum Taggart (Paisley), Mark Allison versus Brian Irvine (Blantyre), Connor Milne (Turriff), Scott Bishop (Blantyre), Jonathan Ross (Paisley).

Rink 4: Martin McCalley (Falkirk), Craig Moss, Graeme Sloan (Paisley), Thomas Mann versus Martyn Jenkins (Coatbridge), Paul Brown (Abbeyview), Andrew Barker (Elgin) Robert Grant (Lanarkshire).