Darren Burnett announces international retirement
Darren Burnett, one of Scotland’s most successful and longest serving international players, has announced that he will be retiring from top level outdoor international bowls with immediate effect.
Darren started out playing bowls at the age of eight through his family, his late father Willie was also a former Scottish internationalist. He quite quickly began winning titles within the local Angus and Dundee area from a young age and made his Scotland Junior International (Under 25) debut at the age of just 17 in 1993.
Full international debuts quickly followed as he made his gents international debut indoors in 1998 and outdoors in 1999 respectively. Darren quickly cemented his place as one of Scotland’s top players in the late 90’s and early 2000’s by capturing a number of national and British Isles titles. He won the men’s national outdoor singles title three times in 1999, 2002 and 2005 – holding the joint record number of wins still to this day.
The best year of Darren’s career came in 2014 when he was crowned World Indoor Singles champion after defeating England’s Mervyn King. He quickly followed this up with an unforgettable triumph at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, winning gold in the men’s singles event. A feat which only fellow Scots, Robert Sprot, Willie Wood MBE and Richard Corsie MBE have also achieved.
The now 47-year-old from Arbroath wasn’t finished winning at major championships just yet as another memorable Commonwealth Games gold medal in the men’s triples followed in 2018 alongside Ronnie Duncan and Derek Oliver. The Scots found themselves trailing 13-14 to home favourites, Barrie Lester, Nathan Rice and Aron Sherriff of Australia with only two ends remaining. Showing true skill and determination, Darren played two of the best back-to-back conversion shots you will ever see to claim a count of three shots to give them a 2-shot lead going into the last end which to Aussies failed to overturn.
Commenting on his decision to retire from outdoor international bowls, Darren said: “For over 20 years I have enjoyed competing for my country at the very highest level of outdoor bowls.
“I’ve had the support of my wife, Linsey, and daughters, Isla and Evie, who have been with me every step of the way. They have been present at many events and this has contributed to the longevity and success I have achieved.
“Thanks also to my mum, Margaret, late father, Willie, and brother, Ryan, and extended family and friends for all the support they have provided both in the lead up, during and after major events.
“I have been lucky to play alongside and share successes with some amazingly talented teammates. To play with and against some of the best bowlers in the world while representing your country is a huge honour and something you should never take for granted.
“Thanks to all the coaching staff and volunteers who have helped over the years. Special mention to David Gourlay, who was a fantastic Head Coach, he took Scotland forward to where we should be in the world with our High Performance programme. He treated everyone as an individual and had the respect of every player. It’s no surprise that a lot of my own personal success came during this time.
“While taking part in elite sport I’ve had to turn down many invites and offers from all over the world, in particular Australia, so hopefully I can now look forward to new challenges and take up some of these opportunities.”
Paying tribute to Darren’s years of dedication and outstanding achievements, Bowls Scotland CEO, Alan McMillan, added: “First of all, I would like to congratulate Darren on an incredible international career for Scotland over the last 30 years. His achievements speak for themselves and put him right up there as an all time great in the sport of bowls.
“For someone who has had to balance work, bowls and family life, Darren has always committed himself to the High Performance programme and has been a major part of any Scotland team in recent times.
“As a true competitor I am sure Darren has not taken this decision lightly so I would like to wish him all the best for the future. I am sure we will still see Darren competing in many other events and he will always be welcomed and appreciated by everyone at Bowls Scotland.”
Darren Burnett major honours:
2014 – Commonwealth Games – Men’s Singles gold
2018 – Commonwealth Games – Men’s Triples gold
2008 – World Bowls Championships – Men’s Pairs silver
2012 – World Bowls Championships – Men’s Triples gold
2012 – World Bowls Championships – Men’s Fours bronze
2016 – World Bowls Championships – Men’s Singles bronze
2014 – World Indoor Bowls Championships – Open Singles winner
2016 – World Indoor Bowls Championships – Open Pairs winner
2016 – World Indoor Bowls Championships – Mixed Pairs winner
2022 – World Indoor Bowls Championships – Open Pairs winner
2007 – Atlantic Championships – Men’s Pairs bronze
2015 – Atlantic Championships – Men’s Triples gold
2015 – Atlantic Championships – Men’s Singles silver
2019 – Atlantic Championships – Men’s Singles silver
2019 – Atlantic Championships – Men’s Triples silver
2006 – World Bowls Champion of Champions – Men’s Singles winner
1998, 1999, 2000 & 2001 – World Indoor Bowls Council – Men’s U25 Singles winner
2001 – World Indoor Bowls Council – Men’s Singles winner
2010 – World Bowls Tour Welsh Open – Open Singles winner
1999 & 2001 – World Bowls Tour Scottish International Open – Open Singles winner
2008 – World Bowls Tour International Open – Open Singles winner