Bowls: Smith and McLean take singles titles

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The Bowls Scotland national championships reached a climax at Northfield yesterday with Blackwood’s Iain McLean and Lorna Smith from ­Linlithgow taking the singles honours.

McLean had success in the under-25 title in 2002 and again in ’07, but after his opening round victory over world champion Alex Marshall, the ­Blackwood international’s form just got better, beating Graeme Stewart from Arbroath 21-2, Colin Mitchell from ­Carrick Knoew 21-14 before setting up his tilt at the title with a 21-7 win over Cumnock’s William McKenzie.

And while McLean had marched through, his final opponent Ian Murray from Turriff also featured in three comfortable opening wins but had to go right to the very last bowl on the twenty ninth end against Eaglesham’s Alan Gray before an umpire’s measure gave him a 21-20 victory.

In the final the score was tied at 7-7 after nine ends but although both players slogged out some telling shots, McLean proved too consistent and ­celebrated the title with a double on the twentieth end to win 21-11.

In the women’s singles, former South African star Lorna Smith will go into the record books as the first back to back winner of the title. The Linlithgow player, the runner up in the Over 55 ­singles earlier in the week had to endure two tough matches yesterday before lifting the title.

In her morning semi she trailed 16-12, but reeled off nine shots over six of the next seven ends post a 21-19 win against 25 year old Kirsty Ann Gardiner from Orbiston and then in the final performed the same finish against Maxwelltown’s Jane Telfer. She trailed 16-12 and then counted the nine shots she needed for victory over four of the last five ends to seal her 21-17 win and a place in the record books.

The Junior under-25 singles were both intriguing matches which could have gone either way, with very little to separate the players in each of the games. However the men’s title went to Lockerbie’s Gary Robertson who produced a treble and single to wrap up the title 21-17 against Adrian’s Martin McCalley while Kelly McDougall from Eskmills won a photofinish 21-20 against Zoe Haining from Marchmount.

Cockenzie & Port Seton sisters Leanne and Lauren Baillie also created history, winning the pairs title for the third time in a row and for the fourth time in five years with the international duo of Alistair Kennedy and Billy Mellors of West Barns taking the men’s title.

Wayne Hogg from the Markinch club in Fife skipped Tom Pettigrew and Ryan Crawford took the triples scoring six shots over the last two ends to beat Hyndland 21-19 in the semi-finals and then in the final against Airdrie Central’s Craig Armstrong, Neil Pringle and David Blades took the title 14-12. Polton ladies lost 17-10 to Dumfires’ Anne Motroni, June Austin and Jan Oliver.

Gourock’s Wellington Park and Kilmarnock’s Townholm club celebrated success in the Fours with Mark McLees skipping Shuan Kelly, John McGilvery and Brian McAlees. Townholm’s Molly Morton, Marie Johnston, Liz O’Neil and Ann Gilmour celebrated victory.

The action continues at Northfield this week with the Ayr Open reaching it’s conclusion on Saturday.