Scotland bring home international trophy

Neil Speirs - a West Lothian stalwart of the Scotland international side.
Neil Speirs - a West Lothian stalwart of the Scotland international side.

Scotland regained the British Isles Home International crown with a glorious hat-trick of wins over Ireland, Wales and England at The Stanley IBC in County Durham.

The triumphs over Ireland and Wales set up a winner takes all clash for the title against defending champions England who had defeated Wales and Ireland giving the holders a shot advantage of 39.

England were bidding to capture The Hilton Trophy for a record 35th time but stayed on the 34 mark having failed to cope with a powerful Scotland performance which saw them etch their name on the trophy for a 32nd time.

The head-to-head against ‘The Auld Enemy’ didn’t disappoint as Scotland showed 
focus to lead from start to finish and always had the measure of England in a clear-cut 128-85 victory.

Scotland accumulated their success by being dominant in all three seven-end phases, making a good start to win the first 42-31 then stepping up a gear to capture the second 48-27 before cruising home with a 38-27
score on the third.

Ends 13 and 14 were particularly significant as Scotland accelerated from a 15 shot lead to more than double that two ends later having stunned England with hits of 11-0 and 7-1 that earned them a 32 shot authority.

Players from the Lothians played a big part in Scotland’s triumph as the area provided 15 of the 24 players in the shape of West Lothian’s contingent of Bryan Cooper, Mark Allison, Calum Logan, Thomas Mann and Neil Speirs.

Allison was a recall who stepped up from the reserve bench for the opening match against Ireland.

East Lothian’s Alex Marshall emerged the dominant figure for Scotland against England as he built on a strong 9-0 lead after six ends to skip Brian Irvine, Colin Hutchison and Mike Stepney to a 24-8 win.

Speirs carded 1,1,1,5 to cross into a 16-11 lead after 15 ends then included a flying 1,2, 5 finish as he skipped Bryan Cooper, Martin Williamson and Thomas Mann to a 26-13 win.

Walker made a blitz start that powered Jamie Higgins, Willie Wood and Iain McLean into a 22-2 lead after 14 ends then a drop in pace saw them settle for a 24-11 win.

Anderson added 2,2 to 14-8 then skipped Gary Hutchison, Calum Logan and Scott Kennedy to an 18-14 win while Ronnie Duncan, Mark Allison, Billy Mellors and Oliver edged a 23-22 win.

Burnett and his rink of Martin McCalley, Calum Taggart and Graham Robertson lost 17-13.