Joyce Lindores, considered Scotland's leading women's bowler

Joyce Lindores, bowler. Born 5 February 1944. Died 18 June 2017, aged 73

Joyce Lindores' sense of adventure saw her begin a new life in Australia
Joyce Lindores' sense of adventure saw her begin a new life in Australia

Joyce Lindores, who was originally from Galashiels and has died aged 73 in Melbourne, was widely considered to be the leading figure in Scottish womens’ bowling over the last 30 years.

Although she only began playing in her thirties, she amassed an impressive haul of honours, including gold medals at the World Championships indoor singles, the World outdoor pairs and the Commonwealth Games pairs. She also claimed gold medals at the World Championships in the triples, fours and team competitions, as well as silver in Commonwealth games pairs –not to mention multiple domestic successes.

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Joyce’s Scottish international caps totalled 63 for the outdoors game and 42 for the indoor version. Having retired to live in Melbourne following the 2006 Commonwealth Games there she continued to collect titles, adding the Australian Open singles championship to her CV in 2010. Her achievements were recognised here with her induction into the Borders Sport Hall of Fame and the Scottish Indoor Bowls Hall of Fame. The latter ceremony was performed only months ago in Melbourne by Betty Collins, the President of World Bowls. And back in 1962 Joyce was particularly proud to have been elected the Braw Lass to represent her native Galashiels, along with the Braw Lad, in the town’s annual summer festival.

Joyce began bowling in 1977 when living in Selkirk next door to the town’s Ettrick Forest Bowling Club. Friends introduced her to the game at the club and at first she played just for fun, often with retired people in the afternoons. One of them, Archie Brownlie, an accomplished bowler himself, spotted her potential and encouraged her to try it more seriously. With some advice from him and hours of practice on her part, Joyce began to progress and in 1982 enjoyed her first significant win, the Borders pairs title, together with her then sister-in-law Kathryn Lindores. It was the start of a successful competitive career which saw her earn her first national title in 1988, the Scottish womens’ singles championship at Ayr. Her first title on the global stage followed in 1995 when she won the World indoor singles in Cumbernauld against Northern Ireland’s Margaret Johnston, one of the world’s all-time top players. A clutch of representative honours included playing for Scotland at five consecutive Commonwealth Games between 1990 and 2006, in Auckland, Victoria (Canada), Kuala Lumpur, Manchester and Melbourne.

Although unfortunate not to win bronze in Auckland in the fours, pipped by one point by Hong Kong, Joyce’s greatest moment in a Games context came in 1998 in Kuala Lumpur, where she won gold in the pairs with Margaret Letham, defeating Namibia in the final. Another silver in the pairs in Melbourne, this time with Kay Moran, brought down the curtain on a memorable Games career.

With Margaret Letham she also won the World pairs outdoors at Moama, Australia, while other competitive highlights included gold and silver medals at the Atlantic Rim Games in different disciplines, two British Isles indoor singles crowns and numerous Scottish and Borders titles.

The younger of two daughters of Grace and Charles Scott, a lorry driver, she was brought up in the town’s Balmoral Avenue where she attended the local primary school and then Galashiels Academy. In 1963 she married Austin Lindores from Selkirk, where the couple set up home and had three daughters Grace, Ruth and Sarah.

She was a housewife before starting as a part-time machinist in J Tulloch Knitwear Ltd in the mid-Seventies, when she was also running a Bed & Breakfast in her family home. A dog lover all her life, she also bred Cavalier King Charles spaniels for a period. Joyce enjoyed travelling the world to play bowls and loved representing Scotland.

Australia was her favourite country to visit and after the Melbourne Games in 2006 she decided to emigrate to live in the Patterson Lakes area of the city, having secured a coaching position with the nearby Clayton Club.

As a coach she was highly regarded for her ability and support while competitively she remained successful. In addition to her national title, she also won the Australia Day Ladies’ pairs invitational tournament in 2011 and as recently as December last year won a local club championship despite serious illness, underlining her tenacity.

A sociable lady with an excellent sense of humour, she was very committed to her sport, spending hours on the practice rink honing her technique. She very much played to win but once competition was over she contributed enthusiastically to the subsequent social activities.

Teammates particularly recall Joyce mimicking Cilla Black in a take-off of Blind Date after one international match, a role she had rehearsed assiduously for months, keen to ensure people had a good time. She was something of a perfectionist in everything she tackled, never settling for second best. Despite increasing health problems she remained upbeat and never lost her sense of humour.

She and her husband separated in 1990, later divorcing. Her middle daughter Ruth died last year but she is survived by Grace, Sarah, and her six grandchildren, Joseph, Christopher, Jodie, Jenny, Charlie and Carys.

A Memorial Service is to be held at Trinity Churches, Galashiels on 12 August at 2pm.