British Isles Championships 2024- Gents Fours Preview

In our final previews, we had the pleasure of speaking with eight members, as well as the president, of Windygates Bowling Club in what was a remarkable season for the club, seeing 10 medals taken from Northfield, back to the Kingdom of Fife. In that tally, there were nine golds, with a solitary silver as well. We spoke with one half of Windygates’ history makers, in Shaun Wilson, Robbie Wilson, Blair Fleming and Christopher Stein, who all chipped in, to make an incredibly interesting interview, ahead of the British Isles Championships at Leamington Spa.


Similar to their female counterparts, the four got into the sport through family, with Shaun’s stepdad getting him involved. Blair’s grandad Dodi got him playing at just nine years old, while Robbie and Chris’ parents introduced them to the sport.


The fours survived some scares in the district qualifiers to reach Northfield. When there, Robbie summed it up best, saying that they never just competed against Scotland’s best but some of the World’s finest bowlers.


The biggest scare of them all came in the semi-finals, where the Windygates four were under the cosh against Paul Foster MBE, and his strong Troon four. Trailing by four playing the last end, the Fifers pulled off the unachievable, taking the required count and securing a place in the final. They were on fire in the final, and controlled the game, allowing them to lift gold in the end!


Thoughts ahead of the British are exactly what you would expect from a highly competitive four. All are incredibly excited, with Blair describing it as “another game of bowls, and the next challenge for this team. We’re prepared, and ready for it. We cannot wait”.


Chris added that they are looking forward to getting onto the green and giving it their all, while Robbie is eager to bring the trophy north of the border!


The team first played as a complete four in their club rink competition in 2022, allowing them to qualify for stage one of the national championships last year. That got the ball rolling for what became a year to remember for ‘The Vale’. Shaun and Robbie both touched on the dynamic of the team with Robbie quipping about the set up:


“We have a great balance in the team, with the two sensible guys (Shaun and Robbie) at the front, with the two rockets at the back!).


Shaun added that the team shares such a bond, and chemistry both on and off the green, which he believes brings them together the most. They trust each other, and encourage one another after every bowl, which adds to their formidability as a team.


We then got the opportunity to speak to skip Chris about the support that Windygates have seen, from club members, and the rest of district too. He described it as “absolutely class” highlighting the large travelling support, who went to Northfield and are now travelling to Victoria Park. He also touched on the ladies fours, who are also reigning Scottish championships, saying that both teams boost the other, which has absolutely helped at numerous stages. Chris thanked both districts seven and eight, saying that fellow bowlers from across Fife have been a beacon of positivity for the competitors.


When it comes to favourite bowlers, the team all had unique answers. Lead Shaun opted for Paul Foster, stating that everything Foster has done in the game is brilliant. Third Blair opted for Foster’s international pairs partner, Alex Marshall, calling hima legend, saying that he has done it all. Second Robbie sought some brownie points ahead of the British Isles Championship, saying that the skipper, Chris Stein, is his favourite bowler! Speaking of brownie points, Christopher opted for his mum Lynn Stein, saying that there is nothing better than having a world class bowler as your mum. This is a statement which the writer can wholeheartedly agree with!


There was a 50/50 split when it came to Ant and Dec too, with Shaun and Blair choosing Dec over Ant, with Blair citing Donnelly’s height as the cause for this choice!


Robbie remained impartial, saying that he cannot choose between them, as “you can’t have one without the other”. Skip Chris quoted his grandad’s words, saying: “I don’t like any of them!”

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