Forrest looks to fire up Scotland squad

Teviotdale bowler Julie Forrest with Scottish Singles Trophy she won for third time
Teviotdale bowler Julie Forrest with Scottish Singles Trophy she won for third time

HAWICK bowls ace Julie Forrest will mark the momentous occasion of winning a 50th cap for her country by captaining the Scottish team in clashes against England, Wales and Northern Ireland in the International Series at Stanley, near Durham, on the weekend of March 8-10.

Scotland, traditionally a force in the tournament, have failed to take the title in each of the last four years, but Forrest hopes to be the one to spearhead success.

“I’m honoured to be named captain,” said the 44-year-old.

“It would be nice to skipper the team to victory. It’s my job to motivate the team, and to pick the players up if things are not going right.

“Scotland are always there or thereabouts. If we don’t win it, we’ve always been runner-up to England. Last year, we lost by a single shot to them in the final.”

Forrest is in her 26th season on the local bowls circuit, where she turns out for Teviotdale.

Although her consistency has seen her capped regularly for Scotland in recent years, the additional needs assistant at Wilton Primary School has never entertained thoughts of captaining her country.

“I’ve been in the team a long time,” she added, “but being captain is not really something I’d thought about before. It’s a challenge.”

She now has two months to become used to the idea of skippering the side, but Forrest believes she has the natural attributes to lead her team mates.

“The lady who did it last year retired from international bowls, and in previous years the captaincy has been the players’ choice. Now, the selectors pick who they think should captain the team. I get on well with all the players – maybe that’s what they’ve looked at.

“I can speak to everybody and I’m quite encouraging to my fellow players. The captain is the person that people come to if they have any grievances. I hope they look up to me.”

Forrest has spent the last two months recovering from a back injury sustained prior to her Super Singles title win at Perth in November last year. However, she believes she will be back to full fitness in time to lead her country in Northumberland.