Lothian bowlers in the hunt for national crowns

Billy Mellors is going for another national singles title
Billy Mellors is going for another national singles title
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Five of the seven titles up for grabs in the climax to the Scottish Championships at Blantyre Miners Welfare IBC this weekend have a strong Lothian interest including the respective ladies’ and men’s Singles events.

The capture of the men’s singles crown is the prime target of both the East Lothian and West Lothian clubs with Billy Mellors and Richard Mark in a semi-final line-up that includes former world champions in Paul Foster and Stewart Anderson.

Mellors is no stranger to the pathway that leads to national glory in the singles as he reigned supreme in 2015 and, with 48 caps to his name, the former player from the sadly defunct Edinburgh IBC is a big-occasion player with a wealth of experience.

Mark, by contrast, is the underdog pitched against a trio of goliaths but the 60-year-old West Lothian champion won’t be thrown by the task ahead.

Mellors and Mark clash in the first semi-final on Saturday so there is a guarantee of a Lothian presence in Sunday’s final while the head-to-head between Foster (Prestwick), and Anderson (Blantyre) promises to be a cracker.

Foster is a five-times World Indoor Singles champion and it would have been six but for his defeat from Anderson in the 2013 final. Both players have previous title triumphs in the national singles, Foster in 1999 and 2017 and Anderson in 2009.

The battle for the ladies’ singles crown features holder Caroline Brown of Blantyre and two-in-a-row champion (2015, 2016) Lesley Doig of East Fife joined by fellow internationalist Lorraine Craig of Balbardie and junior cap Emma McIntyre of Dumbarton.

The vastly experienced Commonwealth Games cap – a two times winner of the Outdoor national singles – has much to offer but will line up as the underdog in her semi-final against Doig.

Brown defends the title on her own carpet and represents an awesome opponent for emerging star Emma McIntyre – also competing for the Junior Singles crown.

Craig also competes in the 2Bowl Pairs where her lead is fellow club star Sharon Leitch with whom she won this title in 2013.

The duo’s latest adventure presents a semi-final challenge against Karen Magee and Rachael Sinclair of West of Scotland while the others in contention are Laura Cox and Wendy Grant of Ardrossan and Angela and Carla Banks of Garioch.

World-stage figures Ronnie Duncan and Colin Walker represent Midlothian in the Men’s 2Bowl Pairs and they open against Craig Bence and John Fleming Jnr of Inverclyde.

If they are successful they will face Falkirk or Elgin, in the shape of Gary Smith/Steven Allan or Andrew Barker/Michael Stepney in the final.

Midlothian are double-handed in these championship with emerging star Jack Macnab bidding to enhance his profile in the Under-18 Singles.

Macnab faces Michael Stevenson of Inverclyde in his semi-final while its Dylan Robertson of Abbeyview against Arron Craig of Alloa in the other.