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Scotland defeat Ireland in first competitive event in more than a year

Scotland played their first competitive fixture in over a year when the High Performance squad entertained Ireland in a Commonwealth Games preparation test match at the weekend.

Staged at the National Centre for Bowling, Ayr, the three-day event had to be held behind closed doors due to strict Covid-19 protocols in place preventing spectators from attending.

There were eight sessions of play with four mini test series being played out in both men’s and women’s disciplines. 

Scotland’s women’s team made a bold start to their weekend by winning both singles and fours in the first session of the day. They followed this up with another two victories in the second session to complete a clean slate of wins in their first test series.

In the men’s disciplines, things were much closely-fought. The triples team managed to record a victory in their first game, but Ireland took the pairs thanks to Mark Wilson and Martin McHugh’s trimph over Martyn Rice and Alex Marshall. The second session followed a similar pattern as the points were shared between both nations. Darren Burnett led Mark Wilson 17-10 in the singles, but the Irish man battled back to level at 17-all. However, Darren kept his cool scoring a full house on the next end to wrap things up 21-17. The men’s fours team battled hard to have a three-shot advantage going into their last end, but Ireland’s skip Martin McHugh managed to remove Scotland’s bowl to score the crucial four shots they required to win the match. This meant the men’s first test series finished a draw with both nations tied on four points and +60 shots each.

Session three was the beginning of the second test series. 

For the hosts, Dee Hoggan recorded her second win of the day over Catherine Beattie in the singles, whilst Ireland’s Ashleigh Rainey, Chloe Wilson, Courtney Meneely and Shauna O’Neill took the fours 14-11. Scotland’s iconic duo, Paul Foster MBE and Alex Marshall MBE, managed to record a win in their pairs match, but their triples colleagues lost 17-10 to Stuart Bennett, Stephen Kirkwood and Simon Martin 17-10 to even things up.

Day two saw Scotland’s men start off the day in impressive fashion with comfortable victories in both the singles and fours to secure victory in their second test series. Proceedings in the women’s disciplines meanwhile went right down to the wire. In the pairs, Dee Hoggan and Megan Grantham were peels with their opponents at 17-each with two ends remaining, but two single shots on the last two ends for Lara Reaney and Catherine Beattie saw them clinch the win. It was a similar story in the triples. Carla Banks, Hannah Smith and Claire Johnston held a 12-10 lead after 14 ends, but the Irish trio of Chloe Wilson, Courtney Meneely and Shauna O’Neill won the final four ends to snatch the spoils in their respective game and take the women’s second test series. 

The second session of the day saw the beginning of the third test series with both men’s and women’s sides putting in strong displays for the Scots. Their only defeat was in the men’s pairs as Ronnie Duncan and Darren Burnett lost out to Simon Martin and Martin McHugh. In the day’s final session, Scotland completed a clean sweep of wins in the women’s pairs and triples and men’s singles and fours to clinch the third test series in both men’s and women’s disciplines. 

And the hosts continued in the same vein on the third day when the Scots chalked up three wins and a draw across the men’s and women’s disciplines. Dee Hoggan maintained her 100 per cent record in the women’s singles with a 21-12 victory over Catherine Beattie. The women’s fours was a much tighter affair as Claire Johnston’s rink, keen to make amends from their previous encounter, battled back from 4-7 down against Shauna O’Neill’s combination to secure a 14-11 win. In the men’s pairs, Martyn Rice and Paul Foster MBE put in a strong display to come out on top against Stuart Bennett and Martin McHugh. The men’s triples was an extremely close encounter as neither team could gain the upper hand and the match ended in a 14-all draw.

In the final session, Scotland’s women rounded off their weekend with another two strong victories in both the pairs and triples. Hannah Smith and Claire Johnston found themselves trailing by one shot in the pairs against Lara Reaney and Catherine Beattie but won the last six ends of the match to secure a 22-13 victory. Dee Hoggan, Megan Grantham and Carla Banks all played their part in a comfortable 21-9 victory in the triples.

Scotland’s men only needed to win one game in the last session to clinch the fourth test series, however, the Irish side had other ideas. Darren Burnett raced into a 7-2 lead in the singles against Ireland’s Martin McHugh but lost 14 shots on the bounce to trail 7-16, eventually losing out 13-21. The men’s fours, skipped by Alex Marshall MBE, lost out 5-13 to Mark Wilson’s four in a close match where neither nation scored more than two shots on a single end. 

These two wins meant Ireland’s men finished on a high note coming out victorious in the final test series.

Results (Scotland first):

Session One (Test Match 1):

Women’s singles – Dee Hoggan 21 Catherine Beattie 9

Women’s fours – Hannah Smith, Carla Banks, Megan Grantham and Claire Johnston 20 Ashleigh Rainey, Lara Reaney, Courtney Meneely and Shauna O’Neill 10

Men’s pairs – Martyn Rice and Alex Marshall MBE 9 Mark Wilson and Martin McHugh 19

Men’s triples – Ronnie Duncan, Darren Burnett and Paul Foster MBE 17 Stuart Bennett, Stephen Kirkwood and Simon Martin 10

Session Two (Test Match 1):

Women’s pairs – Hannah Smith and Claire Johnston 15 v Lara Reaney and Catherine Beattie 11

Women’s triples – Dee Hoggan, Carla Banks and Megan Grantham 27 Chloe Wilson, Courtney Meneely and Shauna O’Neill 7

Men’s singles – Darren Burnett 21 Mark Wilson 17

Men’s fours – Martyn Rice, Ronnie Duncan, Paul Foster MBE and Alex Marshall MBE 13 Stuart Bennett, Jack Moffett, Stephen Kirkwood and Martin McHugh 14

Session Three (Test Match 2):

Women’s singles – Dee Hoggan 21 Catherine Beattie 12

Women’s fours – Carla Banks, Hannah Smith, Megan Grantham and Claire Johnston 11 Ashleigh Rainey, Chloe Wilson, Courtney Meneely and Shauna O’Neill 14

Men’s pairs – Paul Foster MBE and Alex Marshall MBE 20 Stephen Kirkwood and Martin McHugh 14

Men’s triples – Martyn Rice, Ronnie Duncan and Darren Burnett 14 Jack Moffett, Simon Martin and Mark Wilson 22

Session One (Test Match 2):

Women’s pairs – Dee Hoggan and Megan Grantham 17 Lara Reaney and Catherine Beattie 19

Women’s triples – Carla Banks, Hannah Smith and Claire Johnston 12 Chloe Wilson, Courtney Meneely and Shauna O’Neill 17

Men’s singles – Darren Burnett 21 Stephen Kirkwood 14

Men’s fours – Ronnie Duncan, Martyn Rice, Paul Foster MBE and Alex Marshall MBE 23 Stuart Bennett, Jack Moffett, Simon Martin and Mark Wilson 5 

Session Two (Test Match 3):

Women’s singles – Dee Hoggan 21 Catherine Beattie 9

Women’s fours – Hannah Smith, Megan Grantham, Carla Banks and Claire Johnston 17 Chloe Wilson, Lara Reaney, Courtney Meneely and Shauna O’Neill 10

Men’s pairs – Ronnie Duncan and Darren Burnett 12 Simon Martin and Martin McHugh 21 

Men’s triples – Martyn Rice, Paul Foster MBE and Alex Marshall MBE 22 Stuart Bennett, Jack Moffett and Mark Wilson 17

Session Three (Test Match 3): 

Women’s pairs – Hannah Smith and Claire Johnston 16 Lara Reaney and Catherine Beattie 12 

Women’s triples – Dee Hoggan, Carla Banks and Megan Grantham 14 Ashleigh Rainey, Courtney Meneely and Shauna O’Neill 13

Men’s singles – Martyn Rice 21 Jack Moffett 15 

Men’s fours – Ronnie Duncan, Darren Burnett, Paul Foster MBE and Alex Marshall MBE 15 Stuart Bennett, Stephen Kirkwood, Simon Martin and Martin McHugh 6 

Session One (Test Match 4):

Women’s singles – Dee Hoggan 21 Catherine Beattie 12

Women’s fours – Carla Banks, Hannah Smith, Megan Grantham and Claire Johnston 14 Chloe Wilson, Ashleigh Rainey, Courtney Meneely and Shauna O’Neill 11

Men’s pairs – Martyn Rice and Paul Foster MBE 20 Stuart Bennett and Martin McHugh 11

Men’s triples – Ronne Duncan, Darren Burnett and Alex Marshall MBE 14 Stephen Kirkwood, Simon Martin and Mark Wilson 14

Session Two (Test Match 4):

Women’s pairs – Hannah Smith and Claire Johnston 22 Lara Reaney and Catherine Beattie 13

Women’s triples – Dee Hoggan, Megan Grantham and Carla Banks 21 Ashleigh Rainey, Courtney Meneely and Shauna O’Neill 9

Men’s singles – Darren Burnett 13 Martin McHugh 21

Men’s fours – Martyn Rice, Ronnie Duncan, Paul Foster MBE and Alex Marshall MBE 5 Stuart Bennett, Jack Moffett, Stephen Kirkwood and Mark Wilson 13

Overall women’s test series: Scotland 3 Ireland 1

Overall men’s test series: Scotland 2.5 Ireland 1.5

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