Borderer Alastair White bowled over by second Scottish title win, 11 years on from first
The 48-year-old, a member of Jedburgh Bowling Club since switching from Kelso’s in 2018, admits he’d given up hope of repeating that feat, his first national title win in 2012 having followed a decade of bowling at international level, but says he’s delighted to have proved himself wrong.
“To win it once is unbelievable, so to do it again is even more so,” he said.
“I think there are only two or three people who have won it twice, so to get back to the championships was great, but to win the final was quite amazing.
“I always thought if I played the way I can, I’d have a chance, but it’s handling the moment and the fact you have to play five games over five days, and you need to handle that mentally too. It’s brilliant.”
White’s title win came after four rounds at this year’s national championships in Ayr, the final, against Alan Gray, of Eaglesham in Glasgow, starting off with a three and a four and eventually going his way by 21-15.
Bowls might have a reputation for being a sport for older people but White’s always flown in the face of that notion, having been one of the Borders’ top players since his teens.
He credits his father, winner of the Scottish singles title 50 years ago, and mother Sheena, there to cheer him on in Ayr all week, with introducing him to the sport.
“I’ve bowled since I was a young lad, starting at Lockerbie with the family,” he explained. “It’s in the family genes because my dad was Scottish champion in 1973, out of the Sanquhar club, and my mum Sheena has always bowled – she won the Borders ladies’ singles a while back and still bowls at Gala now – and my brother Stuart is a very talented bowler too.
“I was fortunate to play for Scotland at a young age, at under-25 in the 1990s, and then for the full Scotland team in the early 2000s, and I got the chance to enjoy trips around the world, such as to Hong Kong, and play with guys like Alex Marshall, a multiple world champion and Commonwealth Games player, which were great experiences.
“In 2012, I managed to win the Scottish singles for the first time, which was an amazing achievement, and winning that meant I went to the world champion of champions competition in New Zealand, and I reached the final there and just lost out to an English player.
“That was a fantastic experience and I enjoyed playing at a high level.
“Bowls is a great sport because you can play internationally but also still have the club side, where it is a great social sport, bringing all ages together, and you can meet a lot of people and have a lot of fun.”
White, having competed in the Scottish championships for the past decade at pairs, triples and fours without further success, is relishing securing silverware once more.
Though he lives in Kelso, working as a planning manager at the Plexus product design plant there, he made the move to Jedburgh’s club five years ago to play with friends and credits that change of scenery for his return to the top of his game.
As Scottish champion, he will compete in the British Isles championships next summer and again vie for the title of world champion of champions, most likely in Australia, at the end of 2024.
“That will be great and I’m looking forward to it, but I want to just continue enjoying my bowling,” he said.
“It doesn’t get any easier because there are a lot of youngsters coming through, but that’s the great thing about bowls. I can just go back and enjoy playing at my club and hopefully next year get another opportunity to get back to Ayr, but you can play this game to a high level to a fair old age.”