Borders bowlers set for Ayr finals

Margaret Aitkin who won the ladies single hand for Melrose at the District Bowls Finals hosted at Spittal Bowling Club
Margaret Aitkin who won the ladies single hand for Melrose at the District Bowls Finals hosted at Spittal Bowling Club

FOR some Borders bowlers, Sunday was probably the most important day of their season, with the district finals taking place at Spittal.

The winners of the 11 categories qualified for the Scottish finals at Ayr at the end of July.

Alistair White competing in the gents single hand for Kelso in the District Bowls Finals hosted at Spittal Bowling Club

Alistair White competing in the gents single hand for Kelso in the District Bowls Finals hosted at Spittal Bowling Club

At 11am, the first six categories started their matches and in the gents’ pairs Lee Haldane and Ian Crawford of Melrose met Craig Martin and Ross Nichol of Gordon. In what was a keenly-contested match, the Gordon pair managed to hold onto a slender lead going into the final end, where they secured a further shot to win 15-10.

In the ladies’ pairs, Earlston’s Gail Moffat and Denise Kellett were looking to qualify for the second year in a row, but needed to get past Anne Clarke and Gwenda Ainslie of Lauder.

The Earlston duo stormed ahead to lead by 17-5 at the halfway stage, but the Lauder pair took seven shots in four ends and were just five adrift with five ends left to play. However, they did not manage to score again and the Earlston entry won by 28-12.

In the gents’ triples, Kirk Ford, Les Clarkson and Gary Scott of Hawick faced Gordon Scott, Stuart Skeldon and Colin Skeldon of Ancrum. This was a low-scoring match with neither team gaining more than two shots per end. With nine ends finished the score was 6-4 in favour of Ancrum, after which the Hawick triple did not score again, losing 13-4.

In the ladies’ triples, Ann Forsyth, Moira Blyth and Gail Lindores of the Gala club met Sue Davis, Helen Redburn and Marie Todd of Newtown. Gala led for most of the match and, despite a late comeback by Newtown, went through by 16-14.

For the senior fours, Jimmy Effingham, Philip Tait, Jimmy Barnett and George Douglas were representing the host club, Spittal, and faced Wullie Wells, Robin Bell, Bobby McDonald and Graeme Lyall from Hawick.

This match was destined to go all the way with the Spittal quartet gaining three shots on the last end to force an extra one. This end also went to the Spittal four, giving them a 13-12 victory.

The final match of the morning session was the ladies’ senior fours in which Liz Clark, Ann Jarvie, Liz McKenzie and Marion Bower of Peebles were against Doris Knight, Myra Jaffrey, Sandra Somerville and Janette Corcoran of Newtown. In the first three ends the Peebles four gained 10 shots without reply and this really set the seal on the match and they triumphed 22-9.

In the afternoon session, starting at 2.30pm, the gents’ fours saw Craig Brown, Mike Patterson, Neil McNally and Kenny Johnstone of Melrose take on Dougal Blackie, George Hogg, Gary Calder and Alan Bennie of Eyemouth.

This was a close encounter on what proved to be a tricky end rink and it eventually came down to a series of singles to take Melrose to victory by 15-10.

In the ladies’ fours, Helen Hogg, Mabel Dick, Ann Gilfillan and Irene Natters of Jedburgh fought off a courageous challenge from Jean Gammie, Donna Paterson, Sheena Jamieson and Margaret Wilson of Gala Waverley to win by 20-13.

This left the three singles categories and in the under-25s, Matthew Fairley of Coldstream was against Ryan Thorburn of Gala Waverley who, after a tight match, managed to gain the four shots he needed for victory.

In the ladies’ singles, Margaret Aitken of Melrose met Marie Todd of Newtown, who had already tasted success in the Scottish finals. This match swung one way and then the other before Aitken secured the single she needed to win by 21-18.

The final category was the men’s singles and in this Alistair White of Kelso was against Andrew Borthwick of Peebles.

This was a match of the highest quality with neither player being able to pull away. White did manage to reach 17-13 ahead, needing just another four shots, but the match was far from over.

Two singles for Borthwick narrowed the gap before White restored the four-shot margin needing just another two to win. Once again, Borthwick picked up shots, reaching 18 to leave himself needing three. On the next end, however, White managed to pick up the two to succeed by 21-19.