Willie and Steve win Mearns Tractors Shield

On a miserable Sunday members gathered at Laurencekirk Bowling Club determined that the adverse weather would not dampen their desire to lay hands on the splendid Mearns Tractors Shield. The format of the competition, round robin pairs over eight ends, saw the teams divided into two sections enjoy a competitive afternoon’s bowling before the top dogs emerged to contest the final. Unbeaten throughout, Tracy McGillivary and her partner Robert Smith, worthy winners of their section knew they would have to pull out all the stops to preserve this record against Willie Neill and Steve McGillivary, a duo who deserve the utmost respect.

After claiming a single shot on the opening end Tracy and Robert soon realised this would be no cake walk as their opponents moved ahead by 3-1 after three, an advantage they extended to 6-2 at the conclusion of the sixth. On the remaining two ends the McGillivary/Smith combo picked up counts of 2 and 1, insufficient however to prevent Willie and Steve becoming holders of the handsome trophy for season 2011 by the narrow margin of 6-5.

As so often occurs during a summer in the Mearns the weather on the previous day was a complete contrast, warm sunshine greeting four triples from the Lochlands Club in Arbroath who travelled to play a friendly fixture. On this occasion their journey was to go unreward as the hosts with the sun on their backs strode to victory by 64-42. Scores (Laurencekirk first): W. Neill 14 J. Cruden 15 ; I. Macdonald 14 A. Suttie 13 ; M. McNicoll 16 J. Smith 9 ; J. McNicoll 20 W. Cargill 5.

The Kincardine League encounter with Johnshaven was completed last Monday evening with the visit of Steve McGillivary and his team to the coastal town where on the spanking new carpet they gave one of their best displays of the season against an experienced home outfit skipped by Bill Inglis. Quickly adapting to the run of the carpet the visitors led by 4-3 after five ends before falling behind by 10-8 after ten. To their credit the Laurencekirk four dug deep to peel the score after thirteen and were still well in the hunt at the conclusion of the penultimate end when the score stood at 14-13 in favour of the hosts. On the final end at match lie against, Steve with his last bowl trailed the jack to pick up a priceless shot and peel the match at 14-14.

In a further disruption to the Kincardine League programme last Thursday’s washed out clash with near neighbours Fettercairn was hastily rearranged for this Monday. The home four Bill Russell, Fraser Young, Arthur Macdonald and Walter Blakeman skip started with a flourish to lead visitors Doug Ruxton, Jim Diack, Andy Redpath and skip Dave Milne by 6-1 after five ends before counts of 1 and 3 allowed their opponents to close the gap to 6-5 after seven. This served as a wake up call to the hosts who replied with a decisive 2,1,1,1 burst to stretch their advantage to 11-5 after eleven.

Now playing with confidence Walter and his team were in control and over the remaining six ends picked up a further 4 shots with only 3 in reply to seal a well merited success by 15-8.

Skip Steve McGillivary had as team mates Doug Henderson, Max Harrison and Ivan Reid for the short trip to the Fettercairn green, never a happy hunting ground for visiting outfits, where Jim Duncan was at the helm of a formidable quartet which included Dolly Milne, Betty and Bill Brandie. 2-1 down after the opening three ends Steve and his troops were never again in arrears, 5-2 ahead after six was extended to 10-5 after eleven and tenaciously though the hosts replied they were never able to gain parity, although at the conclusion of the penultimate end the visitors lead was slender at 11-10.

On the decisive final end Dolly planted her two bowls within inches of the jack, soon to be followed by Betty who did likewise. Now 4 shots down the hopes of a rare Laurencekirk victory at this venue depended on the back end pair Ivan and skip Steve. That miricles sometimes do happen became evident when Ivan with his second bowl played his shot of the season to find a gap between the “Fettery” bowls and rest against the jack. Now with shot against skip Jim, who had an excellent game, almost stole the match for his team when his final bowl shifted the jack but to his disappointment only to a waiting opposition bowl. So a thoroughly enjoyable match ended in victory for Steve and his team by 12-10. Overall victory by 27-18 and 5 points gained should ensure that the dreaded bottom rung of the ladder is fading into the distance.

At Friday’s Hat Night Fraser Young, Betty Ritchie and Tracy McGillivary were a tip top triple completing their programme 30 shots up.

Congratulations to Irene Macdonald, Betty Ritchie and Margaret McNicoll who have retained their places in the high flying Aberdeen District Ladies Bowling Association team for the match against Grampian Ladies at Ellon on Friday August 12.