Bowls: Trip to Oz lifts Mann after shock indoor omission

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Ace bowler Thomas Mann from West Lothian has been picked with five other men in the Scotland team to play in Adelaide for a Test Series in May.

It is terrific news for the 31-year-old manager of a sports fitness centre in Edinburgh, as it comes a short space of time after learning he was a shock omission from the Scotland Indoor International team.

Having earned 12 indoor caps over the past four seasons, it was thought that the captain of West Lothian IBC was a shoe-in to make it five series in a row.

“Thomas is a fit young man with proven talent at club, county, national and international levels so even if last season’s form in the indoor internationals was judged to a bit iffy he is surely a good bet to improve on that,” said a spokesman from the West Lothian IBC camp.

Mann makes no comment on the subject, but let his skills do the talking at the weekend by turning in the best result of the play-off final of the Premier League and captaining WL to the title against Falkirk.

He came into that showpiece final of the indoor scene no doubt lifted by the news a few days previously that David Gourlay, the head coach of Bowls Scotland, considered him to be a major impact player on the outdoor scene.

The Test series features six nations and acts, in part, as acclimatisation build up to the World Championships in Australia later in the year.

Mann, a member of the select 2014 Glasgow Achieve Programme, will be joined on the trip by Alex Marshall, Paul Foster, David Peacock, Darren Burnett and Graeme Archer.

Marshall (Gifford), Peacock (Danderhall) and Archer (Loanhead MW) bring the Lothian contingent up to four out of six and that is a great compliment to the strength and calibre of the local scene.

Scotland will also send a women’s team of six including Lorna Smith of Linlithgow who is an import from South Africa and a former World Champion. She is joined by Caroline Brown, Michelle Cooper, Claire Johnstone, Margaret Letham and Lynn Stein.

The other nations involved are Fiji, South Africa, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Australia.

Gourlay said: “I believe we have selected a strong and experienced group of players with a strong dynamic who have earned their place in this Test Team. Scotland will face a number of challenges adapting to the playing conditions and speed of the greens and the event will be a great test of the players’ ability to acclimatise giving them valuable experience ahead of the World Championships.”