Local bowls: Seven titles to be decided at the Dalkeith Stadium

Paul Foster of Prestwick is bidding to complete a third successive title and add to his first success in 1998/99
Paul Foster of Prestwick is bidding to complete a third successive title and add to his first success in 1998/99
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Midlothian IBC host the first major national event of 2019 this weekend with the Dalkeith Stadium staging the first set of 2018/19 Scottish Finals – the highlight of which is the Thomas Taylor sponsored Singles.

Seven finals are down for decision with the Gents and Ladies Singles supported by the Gents and Ladies Junior Singles, the Gents and Ladies 2Bowl Pairs, plus The Under 18 Singles.

West Lothian IBC provide the Lothian interest in the Gents singles with internationalist Bryan Cooper from the Inveralmond Stadium in semi-final action against Gordon McKenzie of Coatbridge. The other semi-final features 2015/16 champion John Fleming Jnr of Inverclyde against defending champion Paul Foster of Prestwick who is bidding to complete a third successive title and add to his first success in 1998/99.

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Julie Forrest of Teviotdale has won six Ladies Singles titles, and she faces Laura Welsh of Whiteinch in the last four. The other semi-final features Melanie Darroch of Elgin against two-times champion Lynn Stein of East Fife.

John Fleming Jnr is double-handed as the 2015 champion competes again for the Junior Singles title with holder Jason Banks of Garioch his semi-final opponent while Jak Miller of Aberdeen and John Meikle of Blantyre are also in the title frame.

The challenge for the Ladies Junior Singles features Eilidh Weir of Alloa versus Rebecca Houston of Prestwick; and 2017 champion Carla Banks of Garioch versus Kimberley Dodds of Falkirk.

Midlothian’s Ellie Borthwick is in the last four of the Under 18 Singles and she takes on Liam Sharpe of Dumbarton. Bradley Buchan of Fraserburgh faces David Eaton of Blantyre in the other semi-final.

No bowlers from the Lothians qualified for the 2Bowl Pairs.

2BP Men: Bobby Brown and Brian Irvine of Blantyre v Derek McNicol and Paul Hay of Stonehaven; Stuart Pagan and Paul Brown of Abbeyview v George McCartney and Ryan Langdon of Glasgow.

Ladies: Nicola Orr and Kimberley Dodds of Falkirk v Hannah Smith and Claire Johnston of Auchinleck; Claire Ewing and Sara Jane Ewing of Headwell v Leanne Furye and Caroline Ruxton of Arbroath.

Semi-Finals Order of Play – Saturday: 10am: Ladies J/S, Weir v Houston; U/18 S Borthwick v Sharpe. Gents: J/S, Fleming v Banks. Ladies 2B P: Falkirk v Auchinleck. Gents 2B, P: Abbeyview v Glasgow. 12.30pm: Ladies 2B Pairs: Headwell v Arbroath. U/18: S Buchan v Easton. Gents 2B P: Blantyre v Stonehaven. Ladies: S Darroch v Stein. Gents: S Cooper v McKenzie. 3pm. Ladies J/S: Banks v Dodds. Gents J/S: Miller v Meikle. Ladies S: Forrest v Welsh. Gents S: Fleming v Foster.

Finals – Sunday: 10am: Gents J/S; Ladies 2B Pairs; Gents 2B Pairs; U/18 Singles. 1pm: Ladies Singles; Gents Singles; Ladies J/S.

Midlothian IBC’s end of year M&F Funeral Services Christmas Spectacular Open Triples event made a for a busy Dalkeith Stadium with a masterclass of bowling skills that climaxed with a victory for Alex Marshall and his front two of Steven Morgan and Paul Foster.

Marshall & Co captured the main prize and honours with victory in the final over Trevor Taylor, Scott Kennedy, and Billy Mellors having defeated defending champions Martin Rice, Graeme Archer, and David Peacock in the semi-finals.

Mellors reached the final with a win over Commonwealth gold medal trio Ronnie Duncan, Derek Oliver, and Darren Burnett.

• A special Christmas Pairs event staged by West Lothian IBC and sponsored by JGas was won by Richard Mark and Mark Allison who defeated Bryan Cooper and Neil Speirs in the final.

• The sad passing of Colin Russell – a past President of the Scottish IBA and his club West Lothian IBC – has robbed the bowls community nationwide of a popular and highly respected figure who gave many years of dedicated service to the sport.

The funeral of Colin – an Honorary Life member of the SIBA – takes place at noon on Tuesday at the West Lothian Crematorium, Livingston, EH54 8SF.

The thoughts of the bowls community are with his wife Margaret and family.