THE highlight of any bowling season is the Scottish Finals.
On the first day, last Wednesday, the weather was excellent and nobody could have forecast what a superb few days it was going to be for the local qualifiers from the District Finals held in June.
After the opening rounds over the first two days were completed, the Borders competitors had won in nine of the 11 categories of competition and on Friday more success was to come, with five teams going through to the quarter-finals.
Caron Ironside (Broughton & District) 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 12-12. Ironside then made the decisive move which gave her the win by 21-13.
The Jedburgh four of Jim Straker, Robbie Lindores, Greg Nagle and Euan Lindores were against a rink from Headwell in Dunfermline. This match was virtually decided in the middle part with two counts of four for the Jedburgh team which helped them to a 17-6 lead with five ends left to play. The final score was 19-10 to Jedburgh.
For the trio from Chirnside, Helen Kenny, Kay Purves and Shiela Douglas, the opposition was a triple from Galston. This was a low-scoring match which could have gone either way. However, Chirnside pulled away towards the end to win by 15 shots to nine.
In the ladies’ fours Berwick – Dilys Todrick, Norma Renton, Mary McCann and Margaret Robertson – faced a four from Buchan Park. After the score reached 7-7, the Berwick ladies took control and triumphed 18-8.
The senior four from Peebles, Liz Clark, Anne Jarvie, Liz McKenzie and Marion Bower, were in fine form against Whitburn and despite a late effort from the opposition they won by 17-10.
The casualties on the second day were Billy Nisbet in the singles; the Earlston ladies Gail Moffat and Denise Kellett; the men’s senior four from Selkirk –John Gibson, Ben Wallace, Robert Pringle and Harry Bell – who after a valiant effort lost by 14-11; and Jamie Mitchell of Chirnside in the junior singles.
To have five qualifiers for the quarter-finals on the Saturday was a rare feat, but when all five remained in for the semi-finals it was a very special moment for the Borders.
Ironside had a comprehensive victory over Leanne Furey from Arbroath, while the Chirnside triple recovered from 11-3 to defeat a trio from Denny by 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 by 17-13.
The Peebles senior ladies found Motherwell Miners Welfare troublesome, but managed to force an extra end, which they won to go through by 19-18.
Early on Sunday morning, all five were in action in the semi-finals, hoping to make the finals in the afternoon.
For the ladies senior four from Peebles it was a steep hill to climb against opposition from Newbridge and they were well beaten at 21-6.
In the men’s fours the Jedburgh team found Carrick Knowe difficult and dropped a count of six early on. They found it hard to gain any counts and towards the end when they needed shots could only gain singles. This was not enough and they went down by 18-10.
The third losing semi-finalist was Ironside, who played Maureen Shimmons of Annbank. The final score was 21-10.
With three teams eliminated, this left the ladies of Berwick in the fours and the Chirnside ladies triple.
Berwick were up against Buckhaven and they were again in fine form, allowing the opposition to score just six shots in the entire match and winning 20-6.
The Chirnside ladies triple met Carmyle in their semi-final and the first half of the match was very tight before the Borderers surged ahead to succeed 15-7.
The region now had two teams in the finals, a rare feat.
For the ladies’ four, the opposition were from Stranraer and a slow start caused them to be 12-3 adrift by half-way.
The score moved to 16-5, after which the Berwick ladies put up some resistance, but this was mostly singles and not enough to eradicate Stranraer’s early lead.
For the Chirnside ladies the opposition was from the Watson Memorial Club of Armadale.
After losing four shots on the first end, Chirnside caught up and went in front 5-4.
The lead changed hands again, but after eight ends the Berwickshire challengers were ahead for the second time by 9-7. This did not last long and Watson moved to 11-10 ahead. Unfortunately, although they played some very good bowls, Chirnside were unable to score again.
Despite this disappointing finish, the Borders had obtained two silver medals and three bronze medals out of 11 categories.