Lothian bowlers make up half of Scots Commonwealth squad

Alex Marshall, a world champion 19 times. Pic: Esme Allen
Alex Marshall, a world champion 19 times. Pic: Esme Allen
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Five bowlers from Edinburgh and the Lothians have been selected in Scotland’s Commonwealth Games squad for this year’s event in Glasgow.

Edinburgh trio Alex Marshall, David Peacock and Neil Speirs have won places in the men’s squad, while Port Seton’s Lauren Baillie and Broxburn’s Lorraine Molloy have been picked for the women’s rink. It is the first time that Baillie has been called upon to take part in the Games.

The selections mean that the Lothians make up half of the ten-strong squad competing at the Kelvingrove Lawn Bowls Centre between July 24 and August 1.

Scotland has a good record in lawn bowls over the course of Commonwealth Games history, having won 28 medals, of which 13 have been gold, although they did not claim any honours in Delhi four years ago.

Marshall’s selection in the men’s squad means that he will get the chance to secure a hat-trick of gold medals, having claimed success in Manchester in 2002 and Melbourne in 2006.

His credentials this year are strong, as he is the only person to have won five world indoor singles titles and he holds the record for the most world titles at 19. He is the current World Pairs champion outdoors (2012) and indoors (2013) with partner Paul Foster who has also been selected in the Games squad.

Bowls Scotland head coach David Gourlay, who guided Scotland to six medals at the World Championships in Adelaide in 2012, said: “All of our players are immensely proud to be selected for Team Scotland today.

“This is the culmination of an 18-month training and selection process and choosing the team has been made more challenging because the whole elite squad committed fully to the programme and everyone satisfied the selection criteria.

“I firmly believe the ten players we have selected will give us our best opportunity to win medals in Glasgow this summer. This is our best prepared bowls team and we look forward to being part of what we believe will be the most successful Games ever for Team Scotland.”

Making the announcement, Team Scotland Chef de Mission, Jon Doig said: “Congratulations to all ten bowlers who have been selected to represent Team Scotland at Glasgow 2014. There was extremely stiff competition for the ten places available and confirms Scotland’s strength in depth in the sport of lawn bowls.

“This team has one of the strongest pedigrees we have ever seen with consistent success at international level both indoors and outdoors. I am sure their collective skills and experience will stand them in great stead for this summer’s Commonwealth Games when they will have the added benefit of huge home support.”

Each bowler will compete in two of four events: Singles or Fours and Pairs or Triples. However, with four months until the start of the Games, Gourlay has pledged to keep details of the events in which each bowler will play under wraps to maximise tactical advantage.

Full squads:

Men: Darren Burnett (Arbroath/Arbroath, Angus); Paul Foster (Irvine/Troon, South Ayrshire); Alex Marshall (Edinburgh/Tranent, East Lothian); David Peacock (Edinburgh/Dalkieth, Midlothian); Neil Spiers (Edinburgh/Edinburgh)

Women: Lauren Baillie (Edinburgh/Port Seton, East Lothian); Caroline Brown (Holytown/Belshill, North Lanarkshire); Claire Johnston (Irvine/Auchinleck, East Ayrshire); Margaret Letham (Hamilton/Bothwell, South Lanarkshire); Lorraine Molloy (Broxburn/East Whitburn, West Lothian).