Pooling together to win bronze event at Scottish Interleague finals

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THE Borders Interleague team triumphed in the bronze event at the Scottish Interleague finals held last weekend at Pettycur Bay in Fife. It was a new-style competition, based on the Olympics.

Having been drawn in the “group of death”, which included both the eventual gold and silver section winners, the Borderers struggled early on, going down 6-2 to Dundee. A great 4-4 draw with Ellon bucked them up before they lost 6-2 to Aberdeen A.

Following an easy 5-3 win over Oban B, things looked brighter, but a 6-2 reverse to classy Fraserburgh A doomed them to the bronze event.

In the qualifying group, the Borderers narrowly lost out 9-7 to the Doonhamers in a controversial match, with tempers fraying after a dodgy call from the crowd. After the Doonhamers defeated Fraserburgh C by an extra frame, Borders needed a draw to qualify for the semis and duly obliged 8-8. In the semis against East Neuk B, a brilliant fightback from 3-0 down saw a late surge to gain a 9-5 victory, made more remarkable due to late replacement Ian Middlemass having to leave due to family commitments.

In the final they blew away Elgin B 12-4, again being a man down, as the crowd spurred them on as underdogs.

Captain Scott Simpson said: “The boys were out of this world, Scott Bowers played some sensational stuff, ably backed up by myself, both with 10 frames, and closely followed by Stuart Brown, and Ian McCombe, Stan Thomson, Craig Reid and Les Hunter all improved as the games went on to record important wins, and everyone gelled as the competition progressed. This win is amazing for the area and will be hard to follow.

“I’m proud of everyone, including Ian Middlemass, who had stepped in after we needed an extra player to complete the team after finding out it was an eight-man team and not seven, as we believed.

“All in all, it was Borders pool’s biggest achievement so far.”

z The first half of the Borders Pool League ended with Reivers A easing past their nearest challengers, Ship A. High Level A and Waverley A both won convincingly to close up for second spot, while Fleece bounced back to edge out Reivers B.

The second division saw Station consolidate a good lead after trouncing Abbotsford. Niki’s B regained the winning thread against Waverley B, leaving Bridge B and Frankie’s to triumph in tight matches against High Level B and Bridge A respectively.

Division 1: Ship A (Melrose) 2, Reivers A (Galashiels) 7; High Level A (Hawick) 7, Ship B (Melrose) 2; Reivers B (Galashiels) 4, Fleece (Selkirk) 5; Waverley A (Hawick) 9, Niki’s A (Galashiels) 0. Division 2: Frankie’s (Hawick) 5, Bridge A (Galashiels) 4; Bridge B (Galashiels) 5, High Level B (Hawick) 4; Station Bar (Hawick) 7, Abbotsford (Galashiels) 2; Niki’s B (Galashiels) 7, Waverley B (Hawick) 2.

z Scott Simpson and Scott Bowers qualified for this year’s international squad at the Scottish trials with 100 per cent records, to join Edinburgh-based Ian McCombe, who gained his place through the regional tour events.

This is the first time the Borders has had three players in the Scotland ranks, a great achievement as there has only been four in total altogether.