Who is lawn bowler Alex Marshall? Everything you need to know about Scotland's greatest ever Commonwealth Games athlete

With the lawn bowls tournament underway in Birmingham, we take a look at the man who has dominated the medals podium in recent Games.

This year will be the 21st time that lawn bowls has been included in the Commonwealth Games – with the 1966 event held in Kingston, Jamaica, the sole Games to have left the sport out.

The competition is scheduled to take place from July 29-August 6 and will be played at the Victoria Park bowling greens in Leamington Spa.

Scotland has had a huge amount of success at the Games lawn bowls, winning a total of 37 medals to date – 18 gold, 10 silver and 9 bronze.

Alex Marshall is one of the major reasons for that success, with Scotland’s all-time most successful Commonwealth Games competitor having five gold and one silver medal to his name – along with an MBE.

And He’ll be hoping to add to his total this year, as will Paul Foster who’s just behind on four gold and one silver medals.

Here’s everything you know about Alex Marshall – one of the sport’s all-time greats.

What is Alex Marshall’s record at the Commonwealth Games?

Paul Foster (left) and Alex Marshall (right) of Scotland celebrate with their gold medals after the Men's Pairs Final at Kelvingrove Lawn Bowls Centre during day five of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

He won his first Commonwealth Games gold medal in the pairs tournament in Manchester 2002, successfully defending his title four years later at Melbourne 2006.

More success followed in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014, with double gold in the pairs and fours tournaments.

He grabbed the all-time record at the Gold Coast Games in 2018, adding a silver medal with partner Paul Foster in the pairs, and a fifth gold in the fours with Ronnie Duncan, Derek Oliver and Paul Foster.

What other titles has he won?

Alex Marshall is one of the most successful lawn bowlers in the history of the sport and has won numerous titles.

He has won the World Indoor Singles Championship a record-breaking six times, and has eight World Indoor Pairs titles to his name.

Marshall has also won seven World Outdoor Championship Gold medals (three pairs titles, one fours title and three team titles).

Other notable wins include a 2015 Atlantic Games Team Gold, three Hong Kong International Classic Pairs titles, and winning the Australian Premier League with the Murray Steamers, where he was named Most Valuable Player.

In 2012, Marshall and regular playing partner Paul Foster became the first pair in history to win the World Indoor and Outdoor Pairs titles in the same year.

When did Alex Marshall start playing bowls?

He was introduced to the sport by his grandfather at the age of 8, first representing his country in 1988.

His home club for outdoor bowls is Gifford Bowls Club, while he plays at East Lothian Indoor Bowling Club during the indoor season.

Why was Glasgow 2014 his greatest moment?

Alex Marshall became one of the faces of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games after his iconic ‘get it up ye’ gesture after beating England in the semi-finals of the men’s pairs at Kelvingrove bowling green on his way to yet another gold.

Speaking to MailSport he said: “Those two weeks were the best of my life. You can’t beat winning gold medals in your own backyard.

“I had the crowd behind me. If I’d got off to a bad start at Glasgow 2014 it could have gone the other way. They might have been on top of me.

“But I’ve never played in front of a crowd like that.”

Speaking about the victorious gesture that appeared in every paper, he explained: “The English were better than us on the day but we hung in there. The salute was a release of pressure for me.

“To play two bowls like I did, within inches of the jack, I wasn’t going to just shake my opponent’s hand.

“In other sports, if someone scored a winner in extra-time, they would do exactly the same thing.

“It was just a release of pressure. I don’t have anything against England and some people took it in the wrong context. I’ve got all the clips at home and it’s something I’ll never forget.”

Is he the best lawn bowler in history?

In the debate about the best lawn bowlers in history, the debate tends to come down to two names – Marshall and England’s David Bryant.

David Bryant also won five Commonwealth Games gold medals, including three singles triumphs in succession between 1970 and 1978.

Both are also credited with bringing the sport to a wider audience in their respective eras.

With Alex Marshall still playing though, he still has the chance to further stake his claim of the title of greatest of all time.

Read more:

Birmingham 2022: A day-to-day guide for Team Scotland at the Commonwealth Games


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