BORDERS bowlers, and their many followers, marched on Ayr last week in search of glory in the Bowls Scotland National Finals, played out on the hallowed Northfield Greens.

And this year it was Hawick Bowling Club’s Senior Four (Over 55s) who hit the right note when sweeping all before them to take a Championship title.

Skipped by Bill Anderson the team, which also included Willie Wells, Robin Bell and Les Clarkson, won games against Dumbarton (17-15), Stranraer (16-15), Rutherglen (17-7) and Bankfoot (23-7) to meet Yarrow Recreation in the final.

Seasoned campaigner Clarkson told us: “It has been a fantastic experience from start to finish.

“We struggled a bit in our first couple of games but managed to come back right at the end to win them. I think this gave us confidence and we won the next two games more convincingly.”

Playing in a final is a different matter altogether however and, playing in horrendous conditions, the Hawick quartet found themselves eight shots down after three ends in their last match of the Championship.

“We managed to take a shot and get the jack back and decided to pull the mat up,” explained Clarkson.

“We had been using that tactic all week and it paid off. We managed to find different lines and it worked in our favour.”

From being 8-1 down the Borders four cruised into a 15-8 lead which they managed to hold for a 15-12 victory.

Skip Anderson, who had never been at Northfield either as a player of a supporter before last week, said: “If I had known what a great experience it was I would have tried harder to get here.

“What a fantastic week, all credit to the team who never gave up no matter what was thrown at them.”

Anderson and Clarkson were unable to repeat their success in the Gents Fours playing alongside Simon Spalding and Neil McCaskill. Having played both their semi-final and final in the Senior Fours earlier that same day the duo had little left to give come their opening Fours tie against Zetland which the team lost 20 shots to 3.

“It wasn’t ideal,” admitted Clarkson. “We were absolutely shattered.”

The triumphant Seniors will now represent Scotland at the British Isles Championships at Leamington Spa next year.

Also representing Hawick BC, the Ladies Triple of Suzanne Spalding, Pat Brady and Alison Clarkson (skip) were beaten 19-12 by Errol in the first round.

Gala Waverley duo Liam Nicholson (Junior Singles) and Gary Thorburn (Singles) each put on inspired performances before exiting their respective competitions.

Rising star Nicholson had victories over Abbeyview (21-19) and Kirkholm (21-18) before losing out to London Road Foundry (21-13) in the quarter-finals.

Appearing in the National Finals for the first time Thorburn suffered a nervy start in his first-round match against his Queensferry opponent but rallied, with the backing of a large local support, to bring himself to within six shots before ultimately losing out (21-14).

Lauder Ladies Carol Davidson and Isobel MacRae made it to the second round, following a battling 15-14 win over Uddingston, before going down 18-13 to Calderbank.

Much the same fate befell the Gordon Triplee of Dave Johnston, Arthur Cossar and Nil Kellett (skip) who won 12-11 over Bellshill & Mossend before being ousted by Northfield 18-11.

Kelso Pair Stuart and Alistair (skip) White lost out to Troon Portland in their opening game, 20 shots to 6.