Tranent bowls legend Alex Marshall insists winning gold for Scotland at the Commonwealth Games this summer would eclipse anything else he has done in the sport.
Marshall, who prides himself on a record-setting 19 world titles and a brace of Commonwealth pairs golds, will be signing in for his fifth appearance in the event after being confirmed in the ten-strong Scottish team yesterday.
‘Tattie’, who was joined by another four Lothians bowlers, admitted: “I’ve competed on nearly every continent, but winning a worldwide competition in your own back yard is what you dream of, so gold here in Glasgow would top anything I’ve ever won before.”
There was little surprise that world indoor, outdoor and Commonwealth heavyweights Marshall and Paul Foster spearheaded the announcement of a line-up that can boast experience in depth with a total of 20 Commonwealth appearances between nine of their ten named members and can also lay claim to three golds.
Marshall began his Commonwealth journey in Victoria, Canada, in 1994. He won his first gold in Manchester in 2002 with West Lothian’s George Sneddon and followed this up with victory in Melbourne, alongside Foster, four years later. He didn’t defend the title in Delhi four years ago.
Burnbank Hamilton’s Margaret Letham stood atop the podium at her first Games in Kuala Lumpur with Tweedbank’s Joyce Lindores, who now resides in Melbourne, and has been an ever present since.
As well as Marshall, Danderhall’s David Peacock will be making his fourth appearance while it will be a second successive one for Kirkliston’s Neil Speirs. Arbroath’s Darren Burnett will also line up for the fourth time while it will be a third in a row for Foster.
On the distaff side, Dean’s Lorraine Malloy, a late call-up to the Elite squad, showed her worth when she won the 8 Nations pairs last September and, with a further two events added to the selection criteria, she put forward a solid case in November when she added the Hong Kong Classic Singles and finished as a semi-finalist in the pairs. She will be competing in her second successive Games while Cockenzie & Port Seton’s Lauren Baillie, a national pairs winner four times in the last five years, will be the only player making a debut this time round.
Delhi campaigners Caroline Brown from Bellshill & Mossend and Auchinleck’s Claire Johnston complete the line-up.
Head coach David Gourlay said: “Choosing the team has been made exceptionally challenging because the whole elite squad satisfied the selection criteria.
“We have a baseline target of two medals (of any colour) but I sincerely believe we can expand on this”.
However, for tactical reasons, he did not reveal the actual playing positions of the team. The deadline to do so is June 12.
World No. 1 Foster said: “The format that has been introduced this time is more acceptable than the short, sharp competition of previous Games. You get two bites at the cherry this time and can play in singles or fours then pairs or triples. In previous Games you only had an opportunity in one discipline but, with two, you’ll have more time on the greens and that will be good.”
Peacock said: “You can’t beat playing in front of your own family, friends and supporters. It’ll be terrific to have that Scottish support behind you.”
Men’s team: Darren Burnett (Lochlands, Arbroath), Paul Foster MBE (Troon Portland), Alex Marshall MBE (Gifford, East Lothian), David Peacock (Danderhall, Dalkeith, Midlothian), Neil Speirs (Kirkliston, West Lothian).
Women’s team: Lauren Baillie (Cockenzie & Port Seton, East Lothian), Caroline Brown (Bellshill & Mossend, Wishaw), Claire Johnston (Auchinleck, Ayrshire), Margaret Letham (Burnbank Hamilton), Lorraine Malloy (Deans, Livingston, West Lothian).