As THEY bid to retain the Home International Series title, Scotland’s 24-strong international team survived a dramatic start to their campaign at the Stanley club yesterday with the announcement that world and Commonwealth champion Paul Foster had been sensationally removed from the line-up prior to departing their Durham hotel yesterday morning.
At the team meeting on Wednesday evening, chaired by manager Gordon Neil, Foster was outspoken about several matters and harsh words were exchanged.
A selectors meeting was called yesterday morning and the decision was taken to remove the player from the team with immediate effect.
A statement issued by SIBA secretariat Gordon Woods said: “Following a disagreement at the Team Meeting held in Durham, and a further exchange of views within the Hotel, Paul Foster MBE has been removed from the SIBA International Team for the forthcoming BIIBC Gents International Series.
“Paul was informed of the decision this morning and has now left the Team Hotel and is no longer part of the SIBA Party.
“Team manager, captain Colin Walker and all of the players and selectors are now concentrating on giving their best to try to retain the Hilton Trophy. The SIBA will be making no further statements at this time.”
Speaking last night, a regretful Foster admitted: “I now realise that I should not have acted the way I did at the team meeting.
“I should have spoken to the selectors on my own and not in front of everyone and I now regret my actions and will be sending a full apology to the SIBA.”
With that bombshell behind them, Scotland survived a tense opening first quarter in their match against Wales, but gradually did the business and posted a 131-10 victory. Wins came from the rinks skipped by Colin Walker, Neil Speirs, Stewart Anderson and Darren Burnett while Derek Oliver narrowly missed out by a single shot.
Mike Stepney moved up from third to replace Foster at skip, with Steven Allan called from the reserves bend to fill in at third, while Colin Hutcheson and Paul Boyd retained their front end positions. However, perhaps due to the unsettling nature of the disruptions in the line-up, they lost to David Kingdon 23-9.
Meanwhile, as the knock-out stages of the World Junior Under-25 Championship are beckoning, Scots are continuing to make the running at the Broadbeach Club on the Australian Gold Coast. Kevin Anderson and Ryan Burnett share the points at the top, but are trailing their section leaders Kenta Hasebe from Japan and Aussie Ben Twist by just one and ten shots respectively. In the ladies’ singles Lesley Doig is in pole position in her group, 19 and 20 shots ahead of her nearest rivals Kristina Krstic and Renee McPharlin from Australia, and despite a 21-7 win over Cook Island, Kimberley Harrison looks to be out of the running.
Doig and Anderson beat a New Zealand then Japan in the Mixed pairs and are in second place behind leaders Australia, while Burnett and Harrison lost to a New Zealand and Ireland combo then beat Hong Kong and are in third place.