Cumbernauld bowlers regain their place among Scotland’s elite

Cumbernauld's championship-winning bowlers (pic by Michael Gillen)
Cumbernauld's championship-winning bowlers (pic by Michael Gillen)

Cumbernauld’s indoor bowlers have bridged a 20-year gap by reclaiming their place in the Scottish Premier Divison for next season.

The club has clinched back to back promotions by adding the Division 1 title to the Division 2 crown they won in 2016 and will now play top-flight bowls for the first time since their relegation from the Premier Division in 1997.

The club’s initial aim for the season was consolidation following their Division 2 title success.

But that had to be reassessed in a campaign which culminated with them clinching the championship thanks to a last-match win away to Auchinleck.

Team captain Dougie Geal said: “If we’d lost we’d have gone into a play-off situation and would have played the team coming down from the Premier, which was Aberdeen.

“But I’ve played in the team since 1990 and don’t think I’ve played with a team that has a team spirit like that.

“It was a team that never knew they were beaten. We were over 30 shots down in an away game to Stirling at half-time and that’s a lot to get back, and we won the game by five shots.

“It’s not a team of superstars, but the bonding was brilliant, everybody got on. We’ve got guys in the team that are in their seventies and we’ve got young Robbie Hillis who’s 15.

“Next year we’ll playing against your Alex Marshalls and Paul Fosters and all the top players. It’s the top league in Scotland and it’s probably one of the best leagues in the world.”

If there was one regret to the title triumph it was that former manager Harry Sarrison wasn’t around to see it.

Dougie said: “Just after we’d won the Second Division Harry passed away.

“That was a real shocker to us because Harry had done everything for us and it was his inspiration that brought the team together.

“He never got to see us win the First Division but he’d have been over the moon.”