Borderers hoping for Ayr success

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DREAMS of Scottish titles were ended and extended in one day, as the Borders’ best bowlers battled it out for a chance to appear at the National Championships in Ayr.

Melrose was the destination for the qualifying finals day, and it was the Earlston pair of Gail Moffat and Denise Kellett who were first to book their place on the west coast in July, with a 18-17 win over Spittal’s Susan Lee and Linda Renton.

In the ladies’ senior fours, it was even tighter as Peebles’ Liz Clark, Anne Jarvie, Liz McKenzie and Marion Bower picked up two shots on the last bowl to win 15-14 over Abbotsford’s Liz Waugh, Ella Stewart, Nan Davidson and Ella Brydon. Chirnside triple Helen Kenny, Kay Purves and Sheila Douglas return to Ayr, with Purves and Douglas having twice previously taken home a Scottish ladies’ fours title, after Gala’s Pauline Anderson, Moira Blyth and Gail Lindores conceded with an end to go.

Lauder’s ladies’ four of May Ogilvie, Amanda Ogilvie, Fiona Nichol and Margaret A. Scott also conceded with an end to play against Berwick’s Dilys Todrick, Norma Renton, Mary McCann and Margaret Robertson.

And it will be Caron Ironside of Broughton who represents the Borders in the ladies’ singles after a 21-16 win against former Scottish and British champion Marie Todd of Newtown.

For the men, Neil McNally and Kenny Johnstone of Melrose teamed up to beat Berwick’s Kirk Sim and Ian Guthrie 21-18, but Ettrick Forest’s triple of Jock Wilson, Sandy Grieve and Sandy Bell lost 16-13 to Tweedmouth’s Dave Bolton, Fraser Campbell and Eddie Skelly.

Selkirk’s senior four of John Gibson, Ben Wallace, Robert Pringle and Harry Bell had better luck, however, with a last-end victory over Alistair Grieve, Don Spratt, Ronnie McCulloch and Jimmy Renwick of Ancrum.

In the men’s singles, Lauder’s Billy Nisbet was always on top against Derek Pearce of St Ronans, and made it to Ayr by a 21-12 scoreline.

The mens junior singles was between two talented youngsters with Ben McGregor of Gala facing Jamie Mitchell of Chirnside.

This was by far the longest of the singles matches, lasting 28 ends. Fortunes swung both ways until the score reached 19-all, with both players needing two shots to win.

Mitchell scored a single in both the next two ends to secure victory.

And, despite trailing by 10 shots after nine ends, Jedburgh men’s four – Jim Straker, Robbie Lindores, Greg Nagle and Euan Lindores – fought back for a fine win over Abbotsford’s Alan Howlieson, Gordon Bowers, John Purves and Tommy Mann Jnr.

Mitchell in the junior singles should be a good bet for Ayr providing he can repeat the excellent performance against McGregor.

Chirnside could achieve more success with their ladies’ triple while in the men’s pairs Melrose should be hard to beat.

However, on the day any of the qualifying teams are capable of winning.