Lothian aces win four national bowls titles at Ayr
Bowling stars from Edinburgh and Lothians captured four titles on the final day of the Bowls Scotland National Championships at Ayr Northfield.
Brian Salvona, Kevin Boyd and Paul Veitch of Parkside won the Men’s Triples and were joined on the winners’ rostrum by East Lothian’s Dee Hoggan (Ladies’ Singles) and Joe Mower (Men’s Junior Singles) and the West Lothian Ladies’ Pairs partnership of Sandra Steven and Kirsteen McLelland.
Great campaigns were fought by Billy Mellors of East Lothian in the Men’s Singles and 21-year-old Dean Mackintosh of Edinburgh in the Men’s Junior Singles; but both are nursing the heartbreak of losing their respective final.
Parkside’s triumph in the Triples bridges a long gap since Robert Donaldson triggered “a free bar celebration” at the club with his 1998 Junior Singles success.
To triumph, Salvona, Boyd, and Veitch had challenges at club, then District level, followed by five rounds under the intense spotlight at Ayr.
“We are over the moon,” reflected skipper Veitch. “We have dreamt of such an adventure that leads us to be acclaimed as Scottish Triples Champions.”
Parkside delivered a commanding 15-8 win over the Cowdenbeath trio of Peter Graham, Steven Hunter and Rab McFarlane in the final.
However, the opening stages were a struggle for Parkside as they trailed 7-3, but that picture changed with a 2, 1, 1 fight back to stand peels after 10 ends.
Their focus on the title sharpened with a continued run of 3, 2, 2 to lead 14-7 then the trading of a single clinched the win.
“The Parksiders” enjoyed a strong morning semi-final performance in which the trio kicked on from 11-9 down to a 20-11 win highlighted by a whirlwind finish of 1, 2, 3, 2, 3 against Castle Douglas.
Cowdenbeath had enhanced their credentials as worthy finalists by winning 10 of 15 ends to spring a 15-9 surprise on the fancied Haddington trio of Colin Dick, Stuart Thomson and Alister Kennedy.
Dee Hoggan, meanwhile, reinforced East Lothian’s reputation as a bowling hot-spot as the 27-year-old niece of 2000 national Singles champion John McCrorie stormed to a 21-11 victory in 17 ends over Gillian Gorman of Glenluce in the Ladies’ Singles.
Winner of the Junior Singles in 2009 and the 2016 Mixed Pairs with her Uncle John, Hoggan raced into a 12-0 lead then remained in command at 15-5 and 17-11 before reaching the magic figure of 21 with a 1, 3 finish.
The talented star from Tranent was following a sparkling semi-final performance that produced a runaway 21-4 win over Lisa Thomson of Westhill.
Joe Mower emerged as the spectacular winner of the Men’s Junior Singles title, but his tremendous fight back from the gaping jaws of defeat to snatch a 21-19 victory over Dean Mackintosh was a heartbreaking experience for his London Road Foundry challenger.
Mackintosh thrilled his support with a tremendous start to establish a commanding 18-10 lead over his vastly experienced 21-year-old opponent – a fairly recent winner of the World Indoor Junior Singles title.
Mower remained under immense pressure at 19-13 down, but he is a fighter, as he proved.
The 19-year-old Haddington ace escaped to 16 with a magic count of 3 then, inspired by that, he ground out further scores of 1, 1, 2, 1 to capture the glory in a 25-end thriller.
Mackintosh was suffering an agonising runner-up fate similar to that of his dad (Scott) who lost out in the final of the mainstream singles in 2009. And like his Dad he should remain a force to be reckoned with.
The high profile Uphall Station partnership of Sandra Steven and Kirsteen McLelland reign as Ladies’ Pairs Champions for a fourth time, adding to their triumphs of 2006, 2008 and 2014 by surviving a nail-biting 20-19 battle with Jenny Agnew and Liz O’Neil of Townholm.
All looked hunky dory for the Station having raced into a commanding 16-4 lead then 20-8, but their fire went out and the sweat formed on their brows with the alarming loss of 2, 5, 3, then a single that was cut down by a title-saving last-bowl draw by the skip to the edge of the ditch.