A QUARTET of Inverkeithing Bowling Club members are ready to roll on the national stage after reaching the sport’s flagship competition once more.

Stevie Marshall, Gordon Bruce, Jerry Moriarty and Willie Harper travel to Ayr on Monday for the start of the Bowls Scotland National Championships, where they will go for glory in the gents over-55 fours competition.

The team (pictured right), with one change from the 2018 rink, Harper featuring in place of Andy Clark, came through a qualifying programme that featured around 1,000 teams from across the country to make the final 32.

Last year, Inverkeithing defeated East Lothian Co-op 17-15 before losing to eventual winners Airdrie Central in round two, but Marshall – the club’s secretary – has high hopes they can go further this time around.

“It is superb for us and we’ve only one change from last year,” he said. “Willie Harper has played bowls for most of his life, but only joined us a few months ago. He’s never qualified for Ayr until now, so that’s great!

“It is a different level and, once you’ve had a taste of it, you want more so we’re fortunate in that regard. We reached the last 16 last year and, hopefully this year, we can go further again.”

Qualifiers in 32 districts – for gents and ladies singles, pairs, triples, fours, over-55 singles, over-55 fours, mixed pairs and junior singles – were played in May and June and wins over Kinglassie, Aberdour, Abbeyview, Gallatown and Headwell, who they also defeated in the final qualification match last year, sealed their place at Ayr.

Marshall, whose club are the current West Fife Division One League champions, continued: “It’s all on the day in bowls. We were fortunate to make it through. The longer it goes on, the harder it gets, and the team we beat in the final was the same as last year – I don’t think they’re too happy with us! The adrenaline will be pumping but it’s all about keeping calm, and your concentration.”

Ahead of the championships, where they will play Newbridge, the club’s rink – Russell Lunt, Cieran Gallacher, Davie Guild and David Junor – defeated Crossgates in the West Fife finals on Saturday, but their triples – Marshall, Stevie Marshall junior and Kenny Bald – lost out to Northern. Meanwhile, West Fife will have representation in several more tournament categories.

Crossgates will play in the gents fours; Abbeyview’s Connar Robertson will contest the junior singles; Valleyfield’s Robert McLaughlan features in the over-55 singles; and Dunfermline Northern are in mixed pairs action.

Abbeyview’s Sarah-Jane Ewing is in the ladies singles, with the club taking part in the pairs, while Townhill, with Kara Lees is in the junior singles draw, are also in the fours competition.

In the para-bowls, Billy Allan and Glen Livingston (Abbeyview) will play in the B6 and B7-B8 categories respectively, while Kelty’s Barbara McMillan and Abbeyview’s Maria Spencer are in the ladies’ B7-B8 and B2-B3 draws. The championships run until July 27.