Andrew leads charge
Rutherglen bowlers in national finals
A host of Rutherglen bowlers have qualified to represent their clubs at this year’s Bowls Scotland finals.
And for Burnside man Andrew Wilson it has already been a case of mixed emotions at the biggest event on the calendar for this country’s bowling community. The 24-year-old claimed his place in the under-25 Gents Singles and, along with his Burnside teammates, the Gents Fours event at Northfield, Ayrshire. But he lost out in an enthralling last-32 Singles tie with London Road Foundry BC member Dean Mackintosh.
Playing in Monday’s searing heat, Andrew went in to an early 4-1 lead but fell behind and eventually trailed 12-6.
However, he dug deep to bring the game back to 12-12 before Dean edged the contest 21 shots to 15.
Andrew admitted he was disappointed but is hopeful his fours team can do the business in their game today.
He said: “A few loose ends kind of lost me the game but it was pretty good to get there. I’ve been trying for a few years and I’ve come close. I’ve got to a few district finals and semifinals but I’ve struggled to qualify.
“Two opportunities have came at once which is quite funny.
“Going to Northfield, to put it in perspective for a non-bowler, is the equivalent of a footballer saying they’ve played at Hampden in the Scottish Cup.
“So it’s a big deal for a bowler and it is always good to say ‘I’ve played at Northfield’. I had a good practice on Monday and I’ve got a good group of players I’m playing with, so hopefully we can get a good run in the competition.
“The atmosphere is incredible. There is a lot of support and there was hundreds, if not a thousand people down there on Monday so it makes for a great occasion. Obviously it was great weather as well which added to it.”
Andrew, who is the youngest ever bowler to win the Burnside club championship at just 19, will skip the Burnside team in their match against St Andrews which starts at 12.30pm today.
Scott Stevenson, Geoff McNee and Alec Hay make up the fourstrong team who have rightly earned their place at the holy grail of Scottish bowls.
A straightforward victory over Templeton in the first round saw them take on a Clarkston side led by Pakistan’s Commonwealth Games star Ali Shan Muzahir.
But Andrew, an ex-Burnside Primary pupil, and his talented trio overcame the odds to advance to the semi-final where they defeated favourites Rutherglen.
A district final victory over Kingswood saw them qualify for the Northfield finals and all the members are keen to get out on the greens.
Andrew said: “It wasn’t particularly easy opposition so it was good to qualify in the first place.
“I’d like to think we have a good chance of winning. I know the team we are playing has quite a few young players playing for them but I think if you can catch it on the day, anyone can win a game of bowls.”
If the fours win their tie this afternoon they will move in to the last 16 of the competition on Friday.
Turn to page 65 and 64 for more preview and reaction from the Bowls Scotland finals.
Lead the wayAndrew will hope to skip the fours to victory this afternoon