Last weekend bowlers from a wide area descended on Laurencekirk Bowling Club eager to display their talents in the Open Mixed Pairs which thanks to sponsorship from three local businesses, Spar Convenience Store, Douglas Mitchell Haulage and NFU, allowed the successful contestants to be generously rewarded.
Saturday’s action in round robin format saw the teams make light of the frequent heavy showers as they strove to book their place in the following day’s quarter final draw.
Thankfully the weather on Sunday was slightly improved as the eight pairs emerging from the previous day provided fine entertainment in their quest to take their challenge one step further.
At the semi final stage the hopes of the host club rested with the formidable combination of Willie Robb and Margaret McNicoll and they did not disappoint, coming with a devastating late 1,2,2,3,1 burst to see off the challenge of Liz and Raymond Hunt from Stonehaven by 11-4.
The other semi was an all Portlethen affair, husband and wife duo John and Gladys Walker enjoying a close encounter with club mates Ann Murray and Fred Wyness.
On the final end of a high quality match, with the score peeled, the Murray/Wyness combo claimed 2 shots and victory by 9-7.
With their home advantage and form of the previous round many considered Willie and Margaret favourites in a final which thankfully commenced in dry if overcast conditions. Following the loss of a single count on the first end, the Portlethen hot shots assumed complete control with Ann Murray at lead more than holding her own against the redoubtable Willie Robb (how many can make this claim) while skip Fred gave a fine display, playing a delicate draw or running bowl as the situation demanded.
Down by 13-1 after seven ends the local heros did stop the rot with a count of 2 on the eighth. This however did little to take the shine off a great display by Ann and Fred, victors by 13-3 without the necessity of playing the final end and so they become the first winners of the Laurencekirk Open Mixed Pairs. Commiserations to Willie and Margaret who played many fine bowls for little reward for as most observers remarked the match was not nearly as one sided as the score suggests.
With the return of Bill Russell as lead to join Max Harrison, Arthur Macdonald and skip Walter Blakeman the “A” team was reunited for the home Kincardine League clash with Rodney Shand’s visitors from Portlethen.
Holding a narrow 6-4 lead after six the hosts then embarked on a shot gathering bonanza, picking up over the course of the following six ends 12 without reply. Reeling from this onslaught Rodney and his team fought back to shade the remaining five claiming 6 shots with only 3 against and so limit the margin of their defeat to 21-10.
Doug Henderson being unavailable, Steve McGillivary skip and John McNicoll were joined by Fraser Young and Ivan Reid for the trip to Portlethen where Fred Wyness (that man again!) was at the helm of strong outfit which included Ann Murray his partner in victory at the weekend.
The new look visitors made a promising start to lead by 6-2 after six ends and were holding a further 3 shots on the seventh when the hapless Reid at third played a bowl with too much weight, flicking the jack into a clutch of opposition bowls leaving his side 5 shots down.
So in the blink of an eye 3 shots up to 5 down and in truth the visiting quartet never really recovered as over the remaining ten ends they only gleaned a further 4 shots while an increasingly confident home team picked up 13 to seal victory by 20-10.
So overall victory by 31-30 and 3 points gained is the best result in several weeks for the Laurencekirk squad. Newtonhill next week. Now that will be a real test especially for the away team on the host’s carpet. Hope Ramsay’s on holiday!
Earlier in the week Vice President Arthur Macdonald welcomed four triples from near neighbours Drumlithie for a friendly fixture. The ensuing match, much enjoyed by all, resulted in victory for the hosts by 69-48. Scores (Laurencekirk first): W. Neill 16 W. Masson 12; I. Reid 17 B. Taylor 15; A. Macdonald 14 I Duguid 15; M. Harrison 22 A. Taylor 6.
Collecting the prizes at Friday’s Hat Night were George Fraser and Steve McGillivary who finished 14 shots up.
Finally Betty Ritchie, Margaret McNicoll and Irene Macdonald must be feeling “fair chuffed” at being members of the Aberdeen District Ladies team who comprehensively defeated their counterparts representing Northern Counties in Inverness last Friday.
This is the first time the Aberdeen District team has triumphed at this venue for many years. Grampian Ladies at Ellon are next in line for the high flying outfit.