Two of Midlothian’s leading bowlers are heading to the other side of the world to compete in the World Bowls Championship 2016 this week.
Ronnie Duncan, of Bonnyrigg, and Stacey McDougall, of Dalkeith, will represent Scotland at the world’s premier bowls tournament in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Ronnie (33), a member of Bonnyrigg Bowling Club and Midlothian Indoor Bowling Club, will compete in the triples and fours as lead.
Stacey (26), a member of Dalkeith Bowling Club, will also compete in the ladies triples and fours.
The Midlothian Advertiser was able to catch up with Ronnie just days before jetting off to the country, which was hit by an earthquake two weeks ago.
Ronnie, the current Midlothian singles champion and Scottish Indoor Bowling champions, said going to the World Bowls is the ‘‘pinnacle’ of his bowls career so far and that he was really looking forward to the trip.
Both Ronnie and Stacey are included in the 10 person squad who will represent Scotland at the tournament.which runs from November 29 to December 11.
The tournament, staged every four years, will see up to 34 countries from all five continents compete in the singles, pairs, triples and fours. categories.
Ronnie is no stranger to competing for Scotland, having amassed around 30 indoor and 20 outdoor caps for the national team.
He started playing at 14, and was selected for the under 25 squad in 2006 and gained his first senior cap in 2008.
He won both the Scottish Indoor pairs and British Isles pairs title in 2014.
Ronnie, who works as a test analyst for Aberdeen Asset Management, said his work had been very accommodating regards time off for tournaments.
He has has a busy past months with events such as the Hong Kong Classic last November, the Six Nations in New Zealand in April, and he competed in Australia’s Gold Coast in the summer.
He added his wife Gaynor, also a Scottish International bowler, is very supportive in his aim to strike gold at the event.
Ronnie added: ‘‘The team three days before the tournament starts so that we can get accustomised to the playing conditions. The greens in New Zealand are the fastest in the world and when the wind gets up, they are very challenging, even for the best bowlers.’’
He added he expected the main medal contenders to be Australia, New Zealand, the home nations, South Africa and Malaysia.
Stacey is having an excellent run of form and is also having competed for the national side.
Her list of achievements in the sport is remarkable, having lifted three major titles last year, the Scottish Under 25 and British Isles under 25 singles titles and the British Isles Fours indoor title.
She also won a bronze in the 2014 World Junior singles and a silver in the mixed pairs.
The draw sees Scotland’s men’s triples compete on the opening day,November 29, against Japan, Brunei and England.
Stacey competes in the Fours the same day against Malaysia, England and Israel.
November 30, men’s triples against Fiji, South Africa and Spain; Ladies fours play Japan, Spain and Turkey.
For the full draw, see www.worldbowls2016.com/