THE highlight of any bowling season is the Scottish Finals and this year these started on Wednesday, July 27.
On the first day six teams representing the Borders competed. In the mens singles Billy Nisbet of Lauder played against Colin Martin of Dunfermline West End in the first round and he settled very quickly finally winning 21-14.
In the ladies singles Caron Ironside of Broughton faced Jenny Agnew from the Townholm Club in Kilmarnock. She was eight shots up without response and never looked back winning 21-9.
Other first round matches taking place included the ladies pairs with Gail Moffat and Denise Kellett of Earlston against a pair from University of Glasgow. After a sticky start the Border pair had no difficulty in disposing of their opponents 28-9. At the same time Liz Clark, Ann Jarvie, Liz McKenzie and Marion Bower from Peebles were in action against a senior four from the Springwells Club in Airdrie. The ladies also played very well and had no problem in beating their opposition 26-8.
In the junior singles Jamie Mitchell of Chirnside took on Alan Air of Helensburgh. He is a very promising player and although the match was close early on Mitchell soon took control and had a good win 21-9.
The only casualty of the day was in the men’s pairs category with Neil McNally and Kenny Johnstone of Melrose facing a pair from Port Gordon. On the final end they needed three to force an extra end and actually held the shots required until the very last bowl when a deflection denied them.
On Thursday in the ladies triples Helen Kenny, Kay Purves and Sheila Douglas of Chirnside met a triple from the Mearns Club in Glasgow. They met little resistance after losing two shots on the first end and won 24-5.
For the ladies fours category Dilys Todrick, Norma Renton, Mary McCann and Margaret Robertson of Berwick were against four from the Whitehall Club in Aberdeen, winning 18-12.
In the men’s fours Jim Straker, Robbie Lindores, Greg Nagle and Euan Lindores of Jedburgh met a four from the Grosvenor Club in Greenock. This was a tough match but they came through 20-10.
The run of wins for Border teams continued with the gents senior fours with John Gibson, Ben Walls, Robert Pringle and Harry Bell of Selkirk facing a senior four from Kingswood in Glasgow, the result being 16-6. In the mens triples the Borders were represented by Dave Bolton, Fraser Campbell and Eddie Skelly of Tweedmouth. They met a triple from Stonehouse on what was a very difficult rink. The result was a low scoring match with the score at 8-8 after ten ends. Stonehouse had the better of the remaining five ends and the Tweedmouth triple became the second casualty for the Borders.
On Friday Caron Ironside was the first to play in the second round of the ladies singles. Her opponent was Helen McCabe of Tollcross and in a tough encounter the two ladies were locked together at 12 shots each before Ironside ran out 21-13.
The four men from Jedburgh were against four from Headwell in Dunfermline in their second round match and this was a match the Borderers won 19-10.
For the ladies of Chirnside the opposition was a triple from Galston. This was a low scoring match which could have gone either way but Chirnside pulled away towards the end to win 15-9.
In the ladies fours Berwick were against Buchan Park and after the score reached 7-7 Berwick took control and finally won by 18 shots to 8. The senior four from Peebles were again in fine form against Whitburn and despite a late effort from the opposition they won by 17-10, making it five teams through to the quarter finals.
The casualties on the second day were Billy Nisbet in the singles who lost 21-8, the Earlston ladies in the pairs who were well beaten by a pair from Uphall Station, the mens senior four from Selkirk who after a valiant effort lost 14-11 and Jamie Mitchell of Chirnside in the junior singles. To be fair he was not at his best but he fought very hard making a determined effort all in vain losing by 21 shots to 15.
To have five qualifiers for the quarter finals on the Saturday was a rare feat but when all five remained in for the semi s it was a very special moment for the Borders.
Caron Ironside had a comprehensive victory over Leanne Furey from Arbroath while the Chirnside triple recovered from 11-3 to defeat a triple from Denny 19-12. The Berwick ladies had little difficulty dealing with a four from the Hurlford Club in Kilmarnock and triumphed by 23-12 while the four men from Jedburgh disposed of Alloa East End 17 -13. The Peebles senior ladies found Motherwell Miners Welfare troublesome but managed to force an extra end. They won the extra end to go through 19 -18.
In the semi’s, for the ladies senior four from Peebles it was a steep hill to climb against a four from Newbridge and they were beaten 21-6. In the mens fours the Jedburgh team found Carrick Knowe difficult and bowed out 18-10. The third losing semi finalist was Caron Ironside who played Maureen Shimmons of Annbank but went down 21-10..
This left the ladies of Berwick in the fours and the Chirnside ladies triple. In the fours Berwick were up against Buckhaven and they were again in fine form storming through to the final by a 20-6 margin. Chirnside ladies triple met Carmyle in their semi final and from 8-7 went on to win 15-7.
The Borders now had two teams in the all Scottish finals which is a rare and magnificent occasion. For the ladies four from Berwick the opposition were from Stranraer and after a slow start Berwick unfortunately lost 10 shots in two ends to be 12-3 adrift.. The score moved to 16-5 after which Berwick put up some resistance but this was mostly singles and not enough to eradicate the lead.
For Chirnside the opposition was from the Watson Memorial Club of Armadale. This was a close game throughout and after losing four shots on the first end Chirnside went 5-4 in front.. After eight ends it was 9-7 but Watson moved 11-10 clear. Unfortunately although they played some very good bowls Chirnside were unable to score again and needed five shots on the last end to force an extra end.