1891 to 1941
After enjoying our slide-show below of some very old photographs, read from our first published history. (A static copy of each photo is at the bottom of this page.)
The First Fifty Years
Corstorphine Bowling Club
1891 – 1941
(Originally priced at 2/6d in 1942)
- Chapter One – The Club
- Chapter Two – The Green
- Chapter Three – The Pavilion
- Chapter Four – W. H. Scouller
- Chapter Five – The Later Years
- Appendix – Our Old Photographs
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Corstorphine Bowling Club was formed in 1891 and consequently in 1941 was due to celebrate its fiftieth anniversary. Owing to the war it was not possible to arrange any of the functions usual to such an important occasion, but it was felt that the date should not be allowed to pass un-noticed.
Under the President, Mr. Robert C. Heatlie, the Committee have therefore arranged that these notes on the history of the club should be prepared, and a limited number printed, so that some record be preserved of the founding of the club and some memories retained of the original pioneers of the village bowling club.
The green was levelled and relaid for the beginning of the 1941 season. It is hoped that any proceeds from the sale of this booklet may be made available to meet the cost of the work on the green.
The Club has consistently supported the S.B.A. in its efforts on behalf of the Red Cross War Funds. Entry money for the Wednesday competition and also the proceeds of a special competition each week are allocated to the fund, and to date over £80 or 15/- per member has been raised. In addition, a number of prize winners have presented the value of their prizes. During the coming season this effort will be continued and, if possible, increased so that the Corstorphine bowlers may take their full share in the raising of the necessary funds.
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The Corstorphine Bowling Club has reached the fiftieth anniversary of the formation of the Club, and I have been invited to write a few lines as a preface to the interesting history prepared by Mr. A. Ferguson.
In the early days the Club had its trials, but, notwithstanding the difficulties it encountered, these have been successfully surmounted, and in place of a struggling Club, the Corstorphine Club is now one of the most enthusiastic and prosperous of the many Clubs in Edinburgh.
Undoubtedly the great playing asset of the Club has been Mr. W. H. Scouller, who, amidst his many other triumphs, created a record in the Scottish Single-Handed Championship which has never been equalled. He qualified for the final stage at Queen’s Park Greens by winning the Eastern District Championship on five occasions – In 1914 he was prevented playing in the final stage on account of Government Department restriction of leave ; in 1919 (when competitions after the war were again played) he was in the final, and in 1920 he again reached the final but just failed to win. In 1922, and again in 1923, he qualified for the final, and was on each occasion hailed the Single-Handed Champion of Scotland. In l904 Mr. Scouller skipped the Springburn (Glasgow) Rink which won the Rink Championship of Scotland.
Mr. Scouller also played for Scotland in all the International games with England, Ireland and Wales in 1914, 1919, 1920 and 1921 with distinction.
The history prepared by Mr. Ferguson will be of great interest not only to Corstorphine Bowlers but also to many beyond that area. I commend the book with pleasure and also wish Corstorphine Club continued success.
A. H. Hamilton
Hon. President, S.B.A.
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For the purpose of compiling this short history of the Corstorphine Bowling Club, the writer has had access to all the old Minute Books. As most of the old secretaries were bowlers first, some of the early minutes are not all that could be desired, especially to one coming years afterwards with no knowledge of events then current. For some years, only the Annual General Meeting is recorded. The writer is therefore indebted to several members who willingly supplied details of many of the highlights of the past fifty years.
Mr. J. R. Oliphant, J.P., Vice-President in 1903, joined the club in 1899, and was a regular skip for many years. Mr. George Wallace also originally joined in 1899 and he remembers seeing the bowlers play on Dunsmuir, though he himself was then of an age to take more interest in the horses in the Dunsmuir stables than in the players. Mr. A. Weierter was actually a member for a short period in the Dunsmuir days and played on that green though golf had more attractions for him then. All of these gentlemen have been of great assistance and have given much information. But even then much work has been necessary in verifying dates and actual scores of the successes won by the club, and Mr. Robert Thomson, the secretary, has willingly assisted in this. Acknowledgement must also be made of the courtesy shown us by Mr. George Thomson, secretary of District V of the S.B.A., and by Mr. James D. Ross of Polton, secretary of the Midlothian B.A., both of whom were exceedingly helpful.
That part of Mr. W. H. Scouller’s career dealing with his Civil Service successes is included to make his record complete, and it has been contributed by Mr. Andrew Bell, President of the Scottish Civil Service B.A., 1938-9, and President of Corstorphine Club in 1937.
Mr. Robert Wilson and Mr. James Hunter, who played with Mr. W. H. Scouller in some of his big games, have also helped. The writer is indeed deeply grateful to those and to many more of the members, past and present, all of whom are showing so much interest in this little book.
Looking over the past fifty years one is struck by the various periods into which the history of the Corstorphine Club seems naturally to fall, and each period is overshadowed by some personality whose driving force or brilliance has either carried some big scheme to fruition, or in the case of Mr. Scouller, has brought the club world-wide renown.
When Col. J. Pringle Taylor of Dunsmuir offered the villagers the use of his private bowling green for play on two nights of the week, the club was founded. The guiding spirit then was Mr. John Snow. He formed the club and was its first President. Under his direction the club went ahead, and ambitious plans were made. Ground was obtained and the making of the green was undertaken. Difficulties were experienced, and with such a small membership the financial problem was certainly one of exceptional magnitude. But John Snow was not to see his dream fulfilled. He died at the end of 1896 – eighteen months before the green was opened.
On the completion of the green in 1898, the question of a pavilion was discussed, but outstanding debt on the green compelled members to delay action for some years. Though the debt was still uncleared when Mr. J. A. Williamson, later City Architect, became President in 1903, the question was re-opened. By 1906 Mr. Williamson had sketch plans of a suggested pavilion before the committee; he also had a meeting with the Public Hall Co.’s Directors in regard to the site. Ultimately a big Bazaar was held in the Public Hall early in 1907, from which over a hundred pounds was raised, and the scheme went ahead, the Pavilion being opened in July, 1907.
Then came Mr. W. H. Scouller. His success was phenomenal. It is still said in Corstorphine that at the height of his power nothing could live with him on the green. Eleven times champion of the green and a winner of the President’s Prize from the unheard of handicap of 10 behind, he was equally successful in district and national competitions. There were four cups available in the County before Corstorphine was absorbed in the City, and he won them all. His six successive appearances at the finals at Queen’s Park, his four appearances in the Singles final in five years, his two successive championships in 1922 and 1923 are all records still standing. Playing for Scotland four times, in three of them he finished the highest up skip, and his aggregate of 90 shots up is still unbeaten. He was honoured with the Captaincy of the Scottish team in 1920 and 1921. Truly a wonderful record.
Following these hectic years things quietened down, and though the club has had some successes the minutes deal more with purely club matters. Several extensions to the pavilion were carried through, some of them involving a good deal of expense, while the question of the playing surface frequently came under discussion.
The state of the green had deteriorated for many years. Originally banked up on the South side, the ground had gradually settled and had become uneven. Though various schemes were tried, it was not till 1940, when Mr. David Borthwick was President, that the question was tackled in a big way. During that year a complete lifting and relevelling of the green was undertaken to bring the surface true, and though the full effects have not yet been felt, sufficient has been seen to ensure that very shortly Corstorphine may well have one of the finest greens in the district.
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The story of Corstorphine Bowling Club begins in a historic corner of the old village in the grounds of Dunsmuir. The records of Dunsmuir go back to 1713 when it came into the possession of James Clelland, sometime Dean of Guild of Edinburgh. He later disponed the property to his daughter, Margaret Clelland, when she married John Dunsmuir, to whom the property came. Later Dunsmuir came into great prominence as in the grounds was the famous Physic Well which largely increased the prosperity of the village for many years until well into the eighteenth century. Such were the surroundings of the first home of the club.
At the time our story commences Dunsmuir was in the possession of Colonel James Pringle Taylor, who, about 1890, laid out a private bowling green in the grounds for his own use. Later he gave the villagers the free use of the green on two nights of the week and they formed themselves into a club. And so on July 27th, 1891, Corstorphine Bowling Club was born.
The green was a specially levelled piece of turf about thirty yards long and twenty yards wide, and the villagers had the use of it on the evenings of Monday and Thursday. At the first meeting Mr. John Snow was elected President and Mr. John Wallace, Secretary and Treasurer, while later in the season Colonel Pringle Taylor became Vice-President. During the first season the club had 18 members. So far as can be ascertained only two of these pioneers are still alive – Mr. Forrest Snow, now in South Africa, and Mr. G. W. B. Kerr, who is living in retirement – but as several of them are well remembered, the eighteen were –
|Col. J. Pringle Taylor.
|John Anderson, Sen.
|John Anderson, Jun.
|Peter W. Leslie.
|Thomas N. Johnstone.
|Hugh C. Kerr.
|John G. Wallace.
|George W. B. Kerr.
For the first year the subscription was fixed at 5/- with 1d. per night of playing. The prizes, which were played for on handicap terms, were a gold badge presented by the President, which was won by Mr. George McDougall; a pair of bowls presented by Mr. George McDougall and won by Mr. John Brown, while Mr. John Anderson, Sen., presented a pair of bowls to be played for by those defeated in the first “heats” of the handicap, and these were won by Mr. Forrest Snow. Four matches were played, two with the Juniper Green Club and two with West End, all of which were lost, the President merely stating that they had shown pretty favourable play for a young Club.
At a meeting prior to the 1892 season Mr. John Wallace gave up the office of Secretary and Treasurer, and Mr. John Brown succeeded him. The first election of skips took place when Mr. J. Pringle Taylor, Mr. John Snow, Mr. Forrest Snow and Mr. John Anderson, Jun., were appointed. It is interesting to note that this meeting appointed Mr. George Mollison as Ranger to “force” (though the word has been later altered to “direct”) the members to use rubber shoes while playing on the green.
That the club was ambitious is evident when, as early as this, a small sub‑committee was formed to make enquiries as to the cost of laying out and maintaining a public bowling green and lawn tennis courts for the village. By April, 1892, a preliminary estimate of £250 for a green was before the committee and enquiries were being made for “that piece of ground beside the Public Hall.” Some of the meetings were held in the Public Hall, which in one minute is referred to as the “new” hall. In 1892 four matches were again played with West End and Juniper Green, but again Corstorphine failed to secure a victory.
The number of members at the end of this year had risen to 31, and Mr. Mollison, the ranger, must have been doing his duty as there is an item in the accounts of “Fines for wearing heavy boots, 3/1.” Another fund raising arrangement was that in the President versus Vice‑President match, which had opened the 1892 season, the defeated rink paid 2/6 each to the funds. This paid well in 1892, but in 1893 there must have been a defaulter as only 7/6 is shown as received under this head.
Two of the presented prizes in 1892 were allocated to a Points Competition and this first points competition is interesting because right through the years, until recently, Corstorphine has always been partial to the Points game. Practically every season, sometimes for a fortnight or more at a time, the green has been marked off and this game played. Sometimes it was drawing, guarding, trailing, and driving; sometimes drawing, guarding, and trailing; and sometimes only drawing with four rinks of different lengths, but all seem to have been popular with the members. Great care was taken with the arrangements, and the minutes contain elaborate instructions for the laying out of the green particularly when driving was on the programme. Directions are there, in minute detail, as to the placing of the large canvas mats at the playing end and on the bank behind the jack. At times separate competitions were held for those whose club handicap was 3 or less and those with 4 or over.
A proportion of the entry money was sometimes for the club but more often for local charities. Indeed, in these early years, and for many years later, the club depended on the village when arranging anything big, and the village depended on the club for assistance with its charities, and the club was never found wanting. The source of these donations was nearly always a points competition, and it is interesting to note that when Mr. W. H. Scouller joined the club many years later in 1910, he won both the points competitions run that season.
All competitions up to 1892 had been handicaps, but the Annual Meeting in 1893 decided to inaugurate the club championship without handicap, the winner to receive the President’s Prize. During this season the club played the usual four matches, and this year they managed to win their first match, beating Juniper Green at Corstorphine by eight shots. They lost, however, at Juniper Green by fifteen shots, and were heavily beaten in both matches by West End.
At the Annual General Meeting in April, 1894. Mr. Pringle Taylor was appointed President on the motion of Mr. John Snow, and the first official club champion is stated as such – Mr. Hugh Paterson. It was customary then to re-elect the President, and Mr. John Snow was in office for three years, Mr. Pringle Taylor for two years, while Mr. Leslie, who succeeded him, remained President for four seasons from 1896 to April, 1900, and this has been a record. Since then a new President has been elected each year, with the solitary exception of Mr. Alex. Lister, who held the chair for two years, 1906 and 1907, when the pavilion was opened.
When Mr. John Snow resigned from the chair in 1894 he intimated his intention to present the club with an album to contain the photographs of the Presidents of the club. Later, this was presented and left in the custody of the President for the time being. It is interesting to learn that this album is still in existence and is complete with the exception of the photographs of one or two of the more recent occupants of the chair who seem to have been too modest to show themselves. As a result of this publicity, it is hoped that the series may be completed and the album preserved.
A trouble with which we are quite familiar at the present day – the delay in playing ties – cropped up in 1894 when the championship was unfinished, three ties remaining to be played. They were ordered to be played not later than 10th and 14th May, and a motion (which has a very, very familiar ring about it) was passed unanimously that “this untoward extension of time was not to be taken as a precedent, and that the rules regarding dates would be rigidly enforced in future.”
By April, 1895, the club funds has risen to £31 4s. 5d., and the membership to 39, and, as there is an item in the accounts of “Fines 2/6,” it is presumed that heavy boots had not yet been properly stamped out. At this meeting Mr. Forrest Snow became Secretary and Treasurer, but in 1898, just before the new green was opened, the offices were separated, and Mr. Forrest Snow carried on as Treasurer for a further two years.
Arrangements were now going rapidly ahead in connection with the new green. Several committee and club meetings were held. Negotiations with the Public Hall Co. resulted in that Co. feuing the ground required to the south of the public hall, and Mr. Pringle Taylor, at a meeting on 3rd June, 1895, read an extract from the Hall Co.’s minutes intimating the feuing by the Company and the grant of a 99 years’ lease to the club. Later in 1895 six estimates were submitted for the laying out of a green of which one at £385 was accepted. An estimate of £40 10/- was also accepted from another contractor for the erection of a boundary wall on the south side of the site.
A subscription list was opened, and the following contributions headed the list :- Mr. Pringle Taylor, £10 10/- ; Mr. John Snow, £10 10/- ; Mr. Younger, £6 6/- ; Mr. P. W. Leslie and Mr. Forrest Snow, £5 5/- each. Further subscriptions came in rapidly, and by April 1896, £209 had been collected. During the 1896 season, what was called a Subscription Sale was held. Tickets were sold during the summer and the prizes, which were drawn, included a gold watch, silver watch and a gold albert. This sale brought in the useful sum of £77, and Mr. Hugh Paterson was specially thanked for the work he did in connection with it.
In April 1896 Mr. John Snow reported to the Committee that Mr. Thos. Johnston had generously offered to build the boundary wall on the east of the new green. This offer was accepted with the committee’s warm thanks.
The General Meeting in May of 1896 elected Mr. Peter W. Leslie as President, and mention was made that the club had played the usual four matches but had failed to score a win. It was also intimated that two Briar pipes and other prizes had been presented. The meeting evidently wanted these prizes to go round as it decided that they be played for by pairs but that skips and semi-finalists in the championship be barred from competing.
In the minutes of 6th November, 1896, the death is recorded of the first President, Mr. John Snow, and reference is made to the great loss the club had sustained. Mr. Snow had taken a leading part in the foundation of the club and he was the originator of the scheme for the provision of a bowling green for the village. He had worked hard, and though the scheme was now in process of fulfilment Mr. Snow would not have the privilege of seeing it completed.
The arrangements for financing the club, while the green was being made, seem to have been largely by guaranteed loans from the bank and various references are made to these. In April 1898 the Secretary was instructed to apply for an overdraft of £100. In 1899 the guarantee for an overdraft of £275 was noted, returned and destroyed, while two other guarantees that had apparently been cleared off were ordered to be produced to the committee. Later there is a minute authorising the President, Secretary and Treasurer to sign a guarantee letter to the bank for a further overdraft of £100.
The completion of the green was delayed for nearly a year owing to a dispute with the contractor. Eventually towards the end of 1897 this dispute was referred to arbitration, and as a result the club was relieved from paying the balance of the contract price. Another estimate of £163 had to be obtained for lifting and relaying the green, and hill turf from Hartburn was chosen.
At last the green was completed and the opening was fixed for Monday, 22nd August, 1898, at 6 p.m. Mr. Peter W. Leslie, the President, presided, and the green was opened by Mrs. Pringle Taylor throwing the first jack. After speeches had been made congratulating the club on providing a bowling green for the village, the company adjourned to the Public Hall where tea was provided.
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When the green was opened in 1898 there was, of course, no pavilion. For the next nine years until it was built one of the rooms of the Public Hall was used. This room, which is now the kitchen, has a door opening directly on to the green. Seats were put round the room, and the members kept their bowls under these seats.
It should be pointed out that then, and until the arrangement was discontinued in 1907, the green, in addition to being the home of the club, was the public bowling green for the village. Anyone could play on it, and the tariff included single games, a supply of galoshes being provided for the use of casual players. The charges were:-
|Three-monthly tickets –
|Two months –
|One month –
|Two weeks –
|One week –
|One day –
|Single game –
During 1899 and 1900 strenuous endeavours were being made to increase the Membership which in 1898 had been 35. Efforts were also being made to wipe out the debt still due by the club. Mention is made in 1899 of a bazaar having been held, but details of the result are not given.
In 1900 James Yule, the Auld Kirk Beadle, was appointed greenkeeper, but he appears to have been engaged for only a few hours each day. His pay was 12/6 per week, and it was decided to admit him to membership of the club without payment of subscription. Next year, however, the club had second thoughts on the matter as he was reappointed at 13/6 per week, and it was agreed to admit him to membership on his paying the usual annual subscription. James Yule remained greenkeeper to the club for eleven years.
This connection with the Auld Kirk was maintained when in 1915 James Yule’s successor as Beadle, Andrew Coventry, became part-time greenkeeper. Andrew remained greenkeeper until 1933 except for the time he was in the army. Indeed the committee thought so highly of him that, according to the minutes of 1919, enquiries were being made at his house to see if he could be home from the army in time to have the green ready for opening day. Also it was on Andrew’s burly shoulders that Willie Scouller and his cup came down the Kirk Loan and home to the green on that never-to-be-forgotten Saturday night in August, 1922.
That the question of a pavilion was being discussed is evidenced by the fact that Mr. James Cook, who had been President in 1900, brought up the question and offered, if it were erected, to pay the cost of slating it. In 1902 the club also decided to join the Midlothian Bowling Association. They played in the Midlothian, Carmichael and Rosebery competitions, and the matches arranged that year were with Maitland, Slateford, South Queensferry, Coltbridge and Blackhall. Competitions and matches were by now beginning to resemble the routine of the present day club.
Mr. John Wallace, the club’s first Secretary in 1891, came back into office in November, 1904, when the then Secretary resigned owing to illness, and he remained in office this time until the Annual Meeting in March, 1906. Mr. Wallace was a most painstaking official, and his minutes are very full and clear. In his report of the closing of the green in 1905 he gives such a good picture of the activities of the club at that time that it is worth reproducing in full.
Ladies and boys – or rather apprentices as they were later called – had been admitted to the club from May, 1905, on a special annual subscription of 7/6 later reduced to 5/- in the case of apprentices. This report also mentions, for the first time, the famous Lamplight Game which was carried on annually for many years and which always was the source of much hilarity on the closing night. These lamplight games seem to have been dropped sometime during the war of 1914-1918, probably owing to the lighting restrictions.
In the list of prizewinners our old Treasurer, Mr. George Amos, appears, but the lad who “made a corner” in the boys’ competitions may not be so easily recognised as our good friend “Sandy” Hossack. These are the first prizes that Mr. Hossack appears to have won in the club, and the most recent was in 1935 when he was a member of William Scobie’s rink which brought home the much coveted Richardson Trophy from Glasgow. The beginning of the weekly competition is also indicated. At the present time prizes are given each week, but the practice that year, and until fairly recently, was that prizes where given to those members who had been in the winning rink most often.
It will also be observed that the prizes in the championship are provided by the President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer. This arrangement was altered in 1910 when the Secretary and Treasurer were relieved from giving prizes, and those presented by the President and Vice-President were allocated to the club handicap. Since then the club has provided the prizes for the championship competition.
Minute of Closing of the green and Social Meeting and Presentation of Prizes held in the Gymnasium.
On Thursday evening, the 5th October, 1905, the members of the club along with the lady members and boys met on the green and had their last throw of the bowls for the season in a Lamplight Game, which was heartily gone into by all present for an hour and which was most exciting for the time.
After the game all adjourned to the Gymnasium to partake of the good things provided for the members by the ladies of the club as they had kindly agreed to give the social at the end of the season in return for the Strawberry match given to them in the earlier part of the year.
The President, Mr. John Ramage, occupied the chair, and, having given the loyal toasts, he made a few remarks on the successful season we had just brought to a close, and he hoped that if we were spared for another season it would prove more successful than the one just finished. He then desired Mrs. Pringle Taylor to present the prizes to the successful players in the various competitions for the year, which she did in a most graceful manner as follows :-
|Championship Cup and President’s Prize
|D. M. Duncan.
|Geo. W. T. McGowan & George Amos.
|Mr. A. Lister’s Rink.
|D. M. Duncan.
|2nd Boys’ Competition
Owing to the lateness of the season the Ladies’ Competition was delayed until next year, prizes having been secured for same.
The Monday nights’ competitions proved most successful and enjoyable, and an effort ought to be made to carry these on another year to help to create enthusiasm amongst the members of this club. We had ten of these nights and twenty-one members received prizes. The Chairman then called on the Secretary to give his report.
The Secretary intimated that the membership of the club was as follows :- 52 members, 6 boys and 17 ladies. The club had taken part in the different competitions of the Midlothian Bowling Association, of which they were a member, with the following results :-
H. Paterson – 20 W. Falconer, Arniston – 14
A. Lester – 16 D. Jamieson, Oakbank – 17
J. Wallace – 18 A. Turnbull, Oakbank – 22
Corstorphine – 20 Lasswade – 21
Corstorphine – 8 Springfield – 21
The following matches were played :-
Slateford (at Slateford) – 41 shots down.
Broxburn (at home) – 4 ” ”
Pilrig (at home) – 1 shot up.
Maitland (at home) – 9 shots down.
Coltbridge (at home) – 6 ” up.
Kirkliston (at home) – 33 ” up.
Cal. Rly. (at Russell Road) – 15 ” up.
The Secretary also took notice of the debt of £50 due by the club to the Bank for which we had to pay £2 7/- per annum, and the Committee being desirous of getting this wiped off, decided on running a Subscription Sale which allowed them to reduce the debt by £25. They were also able to disburse an old standing debt due to Mr. J. Pringle Taylor of £10 through the kindness of the members of the Philosophical Dramatic Society giving us an entertainment.
The proposal in connection with the erection of a Pavilion and Bowl House has, unfortunately, had to be delayed again owing to want of funds and the inability of seeing our way in the meantime to raise the necessary money.
The Treasurer (Mr. James Scott) also gave his Financial Report up to date showing that the club was in a fairly good position as regards funds.
After the reports were given the following toasts were proposed. “The Donors of Prizes” proposed by Mr. H. Paterson and replied to by Mr. James Williamson; “The Ladies” proposed by Mr. Jas. Scott; and “The Champion of the Club” by Mr. G. W. T. McGown and replied to by Mr. Jas. Dempster. Mr. Jas. E. Cowan proposed the health of Mrs. Pringle Taylor, which Mr. Pringle Taylor kindly acknowledged, and before sitting down proposed the President’s health. Several songs and recitations were contributed by the ladies and members during the evening. The harmony of the evening was also augmented by the kindness of Mr. John Williamson of Messrs. Handel Garth & Co., who sent out a Pianolo to entertain the meeting, which was much appreciated. A hearty vote of thanks was accorded to him for his kindness and also to the ladies for the trouble they had put themselves to in making the meeting so successful. Altogether a most enjoyable evening was spent, and the company broke up by singing a verse of the time honoured song, “Auld Lang Syne.”
HUGH PATERSON, J.P.
When the club joined the Midlothian Bowling Association in 1902 Mr. Hugh Paterson was appointed one of the representatives to this Association. He remained on the Midlothian body during the whole of the twenty years until 1922 when the club, on the amalgamation of Corstorphine with the City of Edinburgh, joined the Edinburgh and Leith Association. During the year 1905-6 he was Honorary Treasurer, and in 1908 the Association honoured him by electing him President for that year.
It may perhaps not be out of place here to tell of the work Hugh Paterson did for the club. One of the original eighteen members when the club was formed, he was the first official champion in 1893, and for many years remained one of the club’s most prominent players. He was a member of the club rink, skipped by Mr. A. Lister, which played an Edinburgh Corporation rink on the day Sir Robert Cranston opened the new Pavilion in 1907. In 1912 he played third to W. H. Scouller when the rink won the S.B.A. District Competition and fought its way to the final at Queen’s Park. He was also included in the 1914 rink which reached the S.B.A. District Final. When the Welsh Wanderers visited Corstorphine in 1920 Hugh Paterson skipped one of the club rinks.
Though he only occasionally played in the club competitions he won the “Pairs” in 1910 in partnership with George Paterson, and twice, in 1911 and 1915, he skipped the winning rink in the Kerr Medal Competition.
Large as was his contribution on the playing side, Hugh Paterson’s worth was even greater on the business side of the club, and for a long number of years he took an active part in the management. In 1901 when Mr. James Matthew, the village Schoolmaster, died during his year of office as President, Mr. Paterson filled the vacancy as Vice-President for the remainder of the year. For the five years from 1908 to 1913 he was Green Ranger, and in 1914 when the then Vice-President, Mr. D. R. Forrest, was unable to accept nomination for the chair, Mr. Paterson was chosen as President unanimously with acclamation.
As Secretary of the Public Hall Co. from the erection of the hall until his death, he had much to do with the arrangements for the feuing of the ground on which the green was made. When the Pavilion was being talked about, it was again Hugh Paterson who arranged the meetings with the Hall Co. directors at which the site of the building and the proposed sale of work to raise the necessary funds were discussed.
The village social life during these years centred round the Public Hall, and as Secretary of that company Mr. Paterson wielded great influence in the club and in the village generally. If the club was in any difficulty it was to Hugh Paterson they went, and his counsel was usually accepted. He was elected a member of the Parish Council and later was Chairman of that body and a Justice of the Peace for Midlothian. His sudden passing in April, 1927, cast a gloom over the whole district. Hugh Paterson, J.P., will long be remembered by the club and by the people of the village with affection.
Mr. James A. Williamson, A.R.I.B.A., later City Architect, was President of the club in 1903, and the question of a club house was apparently being discussed amongst the members. In 1902 Mr. Cook had brought up the matter but nothing was done. The committee seemed to be unwilling to move until the debt on the green had been paid off. Following his year of office, Mr. Williamson did not let the matter drop. Before the 1905 season opened he produced sketch plans and managed to get the committee to meet specially to go over the site he had in mind. Later that season Mr. Hugh Paterson, as secretary of the Hall Co., took a hand in the matter and invited the club committee to meet the Hall Co. directors on the green. Mr. Williamson again explained his plans and was asked to get an estimate as to probable cost. Nothing further was done that season, and in the secretary’s report at the end of the season finance was given as the reason for delay.
The General Meeting of 1906 saw Mr. Williamson again to the fore. He stated he had several estimates and requested a meeting of committee which he asked should report to a special meeting of the members. This was agreed to. The committee met and recommended the members to proceed with a pavilion at a cost not exceeding £150, and the special meeting approved. Mr. Hugh Paterson and the Hall Co. directors again came to the assistance of the club, and a joint meeting was held to discuss ways and means of raising the necessary money. A bazaar was suggested and thought to be practicable now that the club had lady members. Mr. J. Pringle Taylor, as chairman of the Hall Co., offered to invite the ladies to a cup of tea at Dunsmuir, where the question of a bazaar could be discussed. Mr. A. Lister and Mr. G. W. T. McGown, President and Secretary of the Club, were included in the invitation along with Mr. Williamson.
The ladies turned out to the meeting, and after discussion, following Mr. Williamson’s explanation of the proposed scheme, they decided that a bazaar was feasible. Arrangements went rapidly ahead and the minute books contain records of many meetings. The bazaar was eventually held on Friday and Saturday, 1st and 2nd February, 1907, and was a great success, the proceeds amounting to £126 19s. 9d.
The club has no lady members now. Mrs. Clark, the last of the ladies, resigned a year ago, but for some years she had not exercised her right to play on the green. Probably few of the present members realise how much they owe to the efforts of the Corstorphine ladies of a previous generation.
No time was now lost in preparing amended plans for the Pavilion. Originally it had been proposed to encroach on the Hall Co.’s ground to the extent of 1½ feet, but the green had been measured and found to be 7 feet longer from North to South than from East to West. It was decided that this 7 feet be taken off the green, and with the additional space thus gained the Pavilion could be brought forward and would stand entirely on the club’s ground. The green would still be the regulation size of forty yards square.
At the General Meeting of March, 1907, everybody was enthusiastic, and the following members offered to do various parts of the work on the new pavilion free of charge to the club :‑
Mr. Robert Dick – Slating or tiling ;
Mr. D. M. Duncan – Drainage ;
Mr. D. Campbell – Painting ;
Mr. A. Hume – Carting ;
Mr. P. W. Leslie – Laying granolithic plate ;
while Mr. J. Dunlop arranged for two lavatories and cisterns and two wash hand basins complete, and the President, Mr. A. Lister, promised all the labour in connection with the plumber work. Next month an estimate of £113 from Messes. W. & J. R. Watson was accepted for the joiner work.
The work proceeded rapidly, and on Wednesday, 3rd July, 1907, the Pavilion was opened by Sir Robert Cranston, who was accompanied by Lady Cranston. There was a large gathering of ladies and gentlemen present, but unfortunately the weather broke down at the outset of the proceedings and for a time an adjournment to the Gymnasium in the Public Hall Buildings was necessary.
Sir Robert was introduced by the President, Mr. Alex. Lister, who expressed thanks to him for consenting to perform the opening ceremony. The Ex-Lord Provost was in his best vein and delivered a characteristic speech. He referred in humorous terms to the presence of ladies in the club and hoped the practice would become general. He then formally opened the new Pavilion by throwing a jack on the green.
Mr. Lister, in a few appropriate words then presented Sir Robert with a Silver Jack, suitably inscribed, as a souvenir of the occasion, while Miss. Jean Williamson presented Lady Cranston with a beautiful bouquet of flowers. Major Ralph proposed a vote of thanks to Sir Robert Cranston and intimated that Lady Cranston had presented a handsome set of bowls for competition.
After tea had been served a Corporation rink consisting of Bailie Maxton, Councillor Lyon, Mr. J. Williamson and Bailie Stevenson (skip) opposed a Corstorphine rink consisting of Hugh Paterson, Andrew Hume, George W. T. McGown and Alex Lister (skip), which resulted in a substantial win for Corstorphine by 26 shots to 4.
Mr. John Ramage, the baker, donated the teas at the ceremony and at a charge of 1/- each to members, the club funds received the sum of £4 10/-.
The bowls presented by Lady Cranston were made the first prize in the Club Handicap, and were won by Mr. Alex. Lister.
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W. H. SCOULLER
No history of the club nor of its successes, can be written without devoting much of its space to the play and personality of William Hugh Scouller. Standing head and shoulders, in a playing sense, above any other player the club has ever had, he so distinguished himself not only in Corstorphine but also in Scottish and international bowling that his achievements made his name known wherever the game was played.
The son of a schoolmaster in Duns, whose house practically overlooked a bowling green, young Scouller was at the game as soon as he was big enough to hold a bowl. Later he came to Edinburgh, and was a member of the team from the Dunlop Club which played in Inverleith Park, when that club won the McEwan Trophy in 1896. Within a few years he had joined the West End club, and there in 19O2 he won the President’s Prize presented by Mr. Stevenson, later Sir Alexander Stevenson, Lord Provost. Mr. Scouller’s employment with the Engineering Department of the Post Office took him then to Glasgow, where with the Springburn Club his unique abilities first became prominent. In 1903 he won the championship of that club, and in 19O4 he played for the first time on the famous Queen’s Park greens. During that season he skipped the Springburn rink that went right through and won the S.B.A. Rink Championship. He also took part in the Glasgow City Championship, reaching the semi-final.
Re-moving to Corstorphine, he joined this club on 26th April, 1910, and then commenced that series of successes which stamped Scouller as probably the greatest player of all time, and brought the club amongst the foremost playing combinations in the country.
Corstorphine, as explained elsewhere in these pages, was at that time particularly partial to the Points game, and Scouller early demonstrated his skill by winning both Points competitions run that season as well as a special prize given for the five best scores. In 1911 the club joined the Scottish Bowling Association and in the same year Scouller won the club championship for the first time.
Since 1902 the club had been members of the Midlothian Association, and competition was exceedingly keen for the trophies which were played for by the clubs in membership. The Singles Championship of the County carried with it the Rosebery Cup, and the Pairs Competition, the Hope Trophy. There were three other trophies: the Carmichael Cup for the rink championship, one rink from each club, and the Midlothian Trophy for a three rink competition with the Elibank Trophy for the second strings, also a three rink affair. It had been the usual custom for the Corstorphine champion to be entered for the Rosebery, but when the club also joined the Scottish, the champion was given his choice of these competitions, the runner up competing in the other. Later a special competition was played between four selected players for the honour of taking part in the Scottish.
In 1911 Scouller, as club champion, played in the Rosebery for the first time, and after fighting his way to the semi-final by wins of 21-18, 21-8 and 21-9, he was beaten in that round by W. Veitch, Gilmerton, 18-21, in a deluge of rain.
Next season, 1912, the members elected W. H. Scouller President of the club, and that year was one of the most successful the club has ever had. They won the Midlothian, and their S.B.A. rink won the District competition and played at Glasgow, while Scouller won the club championship and the Rosebery.
The S.B.A. rink, consisting of Wm. Wilson, Jas. Wallace, Hugh Paterson and W. H. Scouller (skip) won the District competition, and at the Glasgow Championships they fought their way to the final before going down rather badly to Springhill, Kilmarnock, by 28-11. The Midlothian Trophy was won with a score of 52 shots up, the scores being: W. H. Scouller 26 up, Jas. Dempster 21 up, and Geo. Paterson 2 up. The winning rinks, all of whom got gold badges. were as follows:
|R. C. Wilson.
|G. Paterson, Jun.
|W. H. Scouller
In the Rosebery this year Scouller played a great game throughout the competition. The earlier rounds he won by 21-5, 21-18 and 21-16 ; in the semi-final he beat J. Paterson (Newbridge) 21-8, and in the final T. Ritchie of Juniper Green also by 21-8.
Next season Scouller won his third successive club championship. The S.B.A. rink this year consisting of Wm. Wilson, Jas. Dempster, George Paterson and W. H. Scouller (skip), reached the District Semi-final before going out to the Edinburgh Club 15-24, while the following year R. C. Wilson, H. Paterson, G. Paterson and W. H. Scouller reached the District Final before falling to Juniper Green, 11-16.
Scouller during the 1914 season seems to have played in both the Rosebery and the Scottish Singles. He was narrowly defeated by the Bonnyrigg representative 19-21 in one of the earlier rounds of the Rosebery but went on to win the Scottish District singles after an exciting final with Mr. George Sneddon of Lutton Place. The score was standing 20-18 against Scouller when he burned two ends in succession to prevent his opponent obtaining the winning shot. Next end he confidently put his first two bowls a yard behind the jack and then brilliantly trailed the jack for 3 shots to win 21-20. He was, however, prevented from playing at Queens Park on account of all leave in Government Departments being cancelled on the outbreak of war.
This season also saw Scouller honoured with his first International cap. He skipped one of the Scottish rinks at Belfast, and finished 26 shots up on the series of games. He was defeated in the final of the club championship, however, by Thos. Graham, by one shot – the only defeat he suffered in these ties for twelve years.
The Scottish Bowling Association decided in 1915 on the discontinuance of the Scottish Championships for the duration of the war, but the Midlothian Association carried on during 1915 before suspending activities. This season the club won the Carmichael Cup and were joint runners up in the Midlothian competition. Blackhall won with a majority of 30 shots, while Bonnyrigg and Corstorphine were 28 shots up. The club skips were G. W. T. McGown, R. S. Wyllie and W. H. Scouller.
The rink which won the Carmichael was Jas. H. Hunter, R. C. Wilson, George Paterson and W. H. Scouller. The final tie at Balerno between Musselburgh (whose skip was W. S. Lowe) and Corstorphine produced one of the stiffest contests ever waged under the auspices of the Midlothian Association. At the fourteenth end the score was peeled at 10. Musselburgh got a 3 at the sixteenth, but thanks to a 5 at the eighteenth, Corstorphine led 15:14. Scouller’s finishing in the closing ends was brilliant. At the twenty-first end the scores were level at 17 shots, and an extra end was necessary. Musselburgh were lying 2 shots when the Corstorphine skip delivered his first bowl. He drove and got the jack, but it cannoned off a bowl and finished a few inches from the strings with Musselburgh still lying. With his last bowl, however, Willie Scouller, amid great excitement, drew to the jack to get the shot and win the cup.
W. H. Scouller gained further successes in the club championship in 1915 and 1916, but on account of wartime duties was prevented from entering in the succeeding two years.
In 1916 the club sent a rink to take part in the Musselburgh and District Red Cross Tournament, but this time Scouller was not included. The rink was in charge of G. W. T. McGown, the schoolmaster, and out of 348 players entered, they succeeded in winning the First Prize. The rink was A. Walker, P. Douglas, A. Wyllie and G. W. T. McGown (skip). The Willowbrae Club also ran a Red Cross Competition in July 1918, and a Corstorphine rink, consisting of R. S. Wyllie, R. C. Wilson, George Paterson and W. H. Scouller, won, beating a Coltbridge rink skipped by Mr. Macdonald, in the final.
In 1918 also Scouller won the Leith Single Handed Championship. He entered again next year but, when he had reached the semi-final, had to leave as he was due to play in the Midlothian Hope Trophy. He played in the Leith competition four times in all, being placed 1st, 2nd, 4th and 17th.
All the Scottish and Midlothian competitions re-started in 1919, and Scouller’s stock was still rising. He was capped again and skipping for Scotland in the International at Carlisle, he finished 35 shots up on his matches. Under Midlothian auspices he won the Hope Trophy with R. C. Wilson leading, and in single-handed he won the green championship and also the S.B.A. District. Some idea of Scouller’s power at this time is indicated by the scores in the Hope Trophy. He and Wilson, after getting a bye in the first round, won their next three matches 23-5, 19-6 and 23-8, to reach the final. It was only in the final, when they beat West Calder (J. Brown and J. Thomson) 18-11, that any of the opposition were able to make a game of it.
At Queen’s Park William Scouller reached the final of the single-handed championship, being beaten by M. Hannah of the Lady Alice Club, Greenock. Playing J. Reid, Stenhousemuir, in the semi-final, it was only at the fourteenth end that Scouller was able to forge ahead, the score then being 12-10 in his favour, but playing with confidence he ran out winner by 21-15. Scouller, who had been playing a splendid game, was a good favourite for the final, but Hannah, after a great tussle up to the twelfth end, got on the lead and kept it to win 21-15.
In 1920 the green was opened by City Treasurer Deas, and Mrs. Deas threw the first jack. This is an interesting link with the early days of the club as Mrs. Deas was a daughter of John Snow, the first President of the club.
This season the club did even better than the previous year as they sent both Scouller and the rink to Glasgow. The names of the rink which won the S.B.A. District Competition were J. H. Hunter, R. C. Wilson, George Paterson and W. H. Scouller, but as Scouller, who had also won the S.B.A. District singles, chose to play in the singles at Glasgow, and as Wilson could not travel, the rink was recast. George Paterson became skip, and the rink played J. H. Hunter, R. S. Wyllie, J. Dempster and Geo. Paterson. In the rink tournament at Glasgow, Corstorphine, in the first round, were drawn against the fancied St. Rollox. After a hard and long drawn out tie, Corstorphine just managed to scrape through. The match had taken so long that, by the time it ended, all the “eats” were sold out and the players had to go outside and then back, post haste, to tackle Thornhill. It was another “needle” game, but Thornhill eventually won by a few shots, and next day they won the championship. Scouller in the singles again reached the final only to fall to R. Sprot, Wishaw, by 21-12.
In August this year a Corstorphine rink – J. H. Hunter, H. Thomson, R. C. Wilson and W. H. Scouller, secured first prize in the Musselburgh and Eskmills Clubs Tournament in aid of the Royal Infirmary.
1920 saw Willie Scouller capped for the third time in the International Matches played this year at Glasgow, and he was honoured by being appointed captain of the Scottish team. Scotland lost, but no blame for the defeat attached to Scouller. Wales and England both beat Scotland by a single shot, and both results might just as well have gone the other way. Scouller, time and again, was the mainstay of his own rink, especially on the Friday, and he had the satisfaction of knowing that he did as much as any individual could to gain a win for Scotland. He finished 25 shots up on the series.
WELSH WANDERERS MATCH
While in Glasgow at the International, W. H. Scouller arranged for the Welsh Wanderers – a team of bowlers containing many International players – to visit Corstorphine, and this was a notable event for the village. The Welsh players had a great reception and there was a big crowd on the banks to watch the play. From the start play was very keen. The Welshmen soon weighed up the green and their typical Welsh voices sounded strange to Corstorphine ears.
At the interval, when the players adjourned to the Lesser Public Hall for tea, Corstorphine led by 6 shots. Mr. Thomas Stewart, President of the club, presided, and in a very happy and able speech gave the visitors a hearty welcome. On resuming, the home team forged ahead and, close on ten o’clock, when the last rink finished, Corstorphine had won by 20 shots. The Corstorphine rinks were as follows :-
J. Terrace. A. Thain.
T. Stewart. J. Rutherford.
A. Lister. J. Dempster.
G. Paterson (skip). H. Paterson (skip).
Won 28-11 Drew 20-20
A. Henderson. J. H. Hunter.
H. Thomson. P. Douglas.
R. C. Wilson. W. Scobie.
R. S. Wyllie (skip). W. H. Scouller (skip).
Won 20-12 Lost 15-20
Result – Corstorphine 83; Welsh Wanderers 63.
After the game the result was read out in the Gymnasium by Mr. Nicholson, Secretary of the club, and Mr. Hugh Paterson, J.P., Chairman of the Parish Council, after a short speech, called for three cheers for the visitors. In their replies the Welshmen, in jovial mood, twitted Scouller and made great play with the fact that, though they had been beaten on the match, they had managed to beat Willie Scouller on his own green.
After the speeches several of the Welsh players entertained the company with their national songs, and in return the Scotch audience sang “Will ye no come back again” and “Auld Lang Syne.” When the Welshmen left they had a rousing send-off.
When the 1921 season came round Scouller was still the reigning champion of Corstorphine. In the years 1919 to 1922 he won the title four times in succession, making a total to date of nine wins. He was, however, beaten in the semi-final of the S.B.A. District singles ties by J. Tennant of Currie, 17-21. This defeat is worth recording as it brings out the amazing performance which W. H. Scouller put up in the S.B.A. District singles. It was the only defeat he sustained in this competition during six successive years. He won in 1914. The S.B.A. competitions were then discontinued until 1919. On their resumption Scouller recorded wins in 1919, 1920, 1922 and 1923. Scouller, however, managed to maintain his series of successive appearances at the championships at Queen’s Park as he skipped the rink to success in the S.B.A. District ties in 1921.
The rink this time was J. Dempster, R. S. Wyllie, Geo. Paterson and W. H. Scouller, but at Glasgow they were beaten in their first tie.
When W. H. Scouller was capped in 1920 he had represented his country three times. As it was then the S.B.A.’s usual rule that no one was capped more than three times, it created great satisfaction among his many admirers when, in 1921, he was chosen for the fourth time, and for the second time honoured with the captaincy of the team. This year closed his international career, and he finished with a record in these matches which has not yet been beaten – 90 shots up in 12 games. The totals for W. H. Scouller’s rinks in these matches were 46 up over Ireland, 44 up over Wales and all square with England.
The club supper, following the end of the 1921 season, was held in Bisset’s Rooms, Haymarket. Mr. J. H. Hunter, the President, presided, and on behalf of the club, presented a gold watch to Mr. Scouller and also a pendant for Mrs. Scouller.
Mr. Hunter said he could not do better as a prelude to his remarks than read the inscription on the watch – “A presentation to William Hugh Scouller by the members of Corstorphine Club in recognition of his position in Scottish bowling and as a mark of their appreciation of his services to the club. – 16th December, 1921.” The President stated that in 1912, when Corstorphine first appeared at the finals in Glasgow, people were asking where Corstorphine was. Now he ventured to say there was not a bowler in all the four kingdoms who was ignorant of its whereabouts and this was all due to Mr. Scouller. His International record was a splendid one and he hoped the day might yet come when either or both of the Scottish cups would come to Corstorphine.
Mr. Scouller, replying, said he had been well supported. The Hope Trophy could not have been won but for Mr. Wilson’s splendid leading while the Scottish rink could never have gone far without the veteran, Mr. G. Paterson. He thanked the members for the gifts and promised that, next year, he would take his watch with him to Glasgow and bring home one of the cups.
1922 gave Willie Scouller the first of his great single-handed triumphs, as this year he went right through and won the Scottish Championship. At Glasgow his first game was against J. Taylor, Cambusbarron. Scouller led 8-7 and then put on 10 shots without reply 18-7, eventually winning 21-13. The next game was versus G. Gray, Polmont, and resulted Scouller 21, Gray 10. The game was much better than the score indicates, and the end, were very close. Very few loose bowls were played, and Scouller had always to be there or thereabouts to get the shot. In the semi-final it was W. H. Scouller v. R. Clelland, Whitburn. After four ends the score was 2-2. Scouller then had a phenomenal run of 14 shots in six ends, 16-2, eventually winning 21-10.
In the final tie the Corstorphine champion met W. Gray of Abbotsford, and when the match commenced there was a huge crowd all round the banks. Both players were photographed, and after two trial ends Scouller tossed up and won. This was a good omen, but he neutralised it by putting his first bowl in the ditch. After two ends Gray led 2-0. At the third end four “sentinels” lay right across the jack. Scouller struck Gray’s bowl, put it out, and got shot. It was a dangerous attempt and none but an expert could have made a success of it. The fourth end was perhaps the best end of the tournament. Gray put his first shot about 18 inches beyond the jack. Scouller, as a Glaswegian remarked, “cuddled” into Gray. Not to be outdone Gray “cuddled” into Scouller, and then Scouller did ditto. Each shot was loudly applauded from the bank. Each player stole the shot in turn, but Scouller with his last bowl drew the shot, 2-2. It was a great end between two masters. At the sixth end Gray lay and Scouller attempted a difficult draw. The “bankers had their doots,” but Scouller got the shot, 3-5. At the eighth end Gray led 8-4, but Scouller got his eye in and scored at the next six ends to lead 11-8. Gray got a 3 at the next end to peel. This seemed to spur on Scouller, and in six ends he ran out winner, Gray failing to score again.
Scouller is usually thought to be a “long ender,” but he showed his prowess by playing short ends, and that with deadly accuracy. At the sixteenth end Scouller attempted three dangerous draws; an inch out might have meant disaster; they all came off, and he got 3 shots, 14-ll. The twentieth end nearly saw the finish. Scouller lay 3 and then drew a superb toucher. Gray kept cool and drew a beautiful bowl to save two, 20-11. At the twenty-first end Scouller evidently meant to finish it. He played very carefully and got a toucher. Gray was short and Scouller got 2 shots and victory, 21-11.
Willie Scouller must have felt a proud man as the crowd loudly applauded his victory. He had fallen twice in this great match, but now he was successful. There was no doubt at all of his popularity, and his hand must have been sore after all the handshaking.
THE CHAMPION’S HOMECOMING
Word has been forwarded to the green that the cup was on its way to Corstorphine, and there was a large gathering of bowlers and friends to welcome the champion home. Though loath to be “chaired,” the bowlers would take no denial, so Mr. Scouller found himself seated on the broad shoulders of “Sandy” Hossack and Andrew Coventry, and he was carried in triumph from the station and down the Kirk Loan to the green. Here the Cup was filled and handed round in time honoured custom.
The President, Mr James Dempster, accompanied by his wife, welcomed Mr Scouller, and in a few well chosen words he expressed the gratification the villagers felt at the honour he had conferred on them by bringing home the “Blue Riband” of bowling. Mr. Scouller, in reply, thanked Mr. Dempster for the very nice things he had said of him and also thanked all present for the tremendous enthusiasm of his welcome. He also expressed the hope, now that one cup had come to Corstorphine, that the rink trophy might also find its way to the village. It required concentration, perseverance, and a slice of luck, and was not beyond the capabilities of bowlers such as they had on Corstorphine green.
When the Annual Club Supper came to be held in Ferguson & Forrester’s in the November following, the programme was made a special souvenir of the occasion, and Mr. Scouller’s photograph appeared on the back page.
The green was opened for the 1923 season in bright sunshine by the President, Mr. Donald Morrison, and many were the hopes expressed that Willie Scouller, so well was he playing, might repeat his triumph of the previous season and thereby create a record, as the cup had never yet been held for two successive years by the same player. The rink, this time composed of P. Douglas, R. S. Wyllie, W. Alston and W. H. Scouller, also went out with high hopes. Alas the rink fell by the wayside during the District competition, but Scouller succeeded, once again, in qualifying for the great August tournament at Queen’s Park. W. S. Lowe of Musselburgh was also among the qualifiers. Willie Scouller, whose previous displays on the classic turf had made him very popular in the West, was a warm favourite from the first. On Friday morning his opponent was P. R. Brown of Udston, whom he beat fairly easily by 21-13. Lowe of Musselburgh also got through, but the sensation of the first round was caused by a young player, J. C. Irvine of Lockerbie, when he defeated the Glasgow champion by 21-6.
In the second round Scouller had an arduous battle with J. J. Barbour of Largs, and only succeeded in scraping home by one shot. Lowe and Irvine also won their way to the semi-final. For the semi-final Scouller was paired with W. J. Ford of Lochee, whom he succeeded in defeating 21-11, but the other semi-final had the crowd crazy with excitement and brought young Irvine right into the limelight. He was in the seemingly hopeless position of having scored only 2 shots to Lowe’s 11 when he suddenly struck a game, and passing his experienced opponent at 16 went on to win without conceding another shot. With such an opponent in the final it behoved Scouller to take no risks. He watched the young player carefully and eventually wearing him down, won his second championship by 21-14.
THE WELCOME AT CORSTORPHINE
Mr. Scouller was accorded a great reception on his return to Corstorphine after having won the “blue riband” of Scottish Bowling for two years in succession. When the news of his success became known early in the evening, the members of the club decided to have a band in attendance, and on very short notice, the Gorgie District Pipe Band placed their services at the disposal of the club. Mr. Scouller and his party reached Corstorphine shortly after ten o’clock, and there was a huge crowd awaiting his arrival.
The champion along with Mr. McKay, the Vice-President of the club, were escorted to an open cab from which the horse has been removed. Willing hands got between the shafts and with the aid of a rope, the carriage was drawn through the village with the pipe band leading and the cup held aloft. Starting from Station Road the procession this time went along St. John’s Road, down Manse Road and back along the old village High Street to the green. The streets were lined with cheering spectators and from every window waving handkerchiefs welcomed the champion.
On arrival at the green, so dense was the crowd that Mr. McKay, who addressed the crowd in the absence of Mr. Donald Morrison, the President of the club who was on holiday, had to speak standing at the wall beside the gate.
He referred to Mr. Scouller’s great feat in winning the single handed championship of Scotland for the second year in succession, and congratulated him on this splendid achievement which no other man had accomplished. They, as a club, were proud of him for the great honour he had brought Corstorphine and the distinction he had won for himself.
Mr. Scouller thanked Mr. McKay for his welcome and said the enthusiasm of his homecoming had quite taken him by surprise, but he was proud to think there was hardly a family in Corstorphine not represented. As regards the championship, if he failed in the future, Corstorphine had another man to take his place, Mr. John Brown, who this year had so handsomely won the championship of the green.
That was W. H. Scouller’s last appearance as a player at Queen’s Park. For the five years since the end of the war he had fought his way each year to the championships and the strain had been heavy. People who only see the big Glasgow carnival with its high lights and its excited crowds do not realise that the road to Queen’s Park, especially for a singles player, is sometimes a dreary and often a lonely road. Every tie is played away from home. If the opponents are well known and the venue convenient, a big crowd may be expected, but if not then only the faithful few are present. It is not quite so bad nowadays with a string of motor cars outside the club house gate to take the player and his followers to the match. But at that time how often was the local tradesman’s van, with its high stepping mare, commandeered to take the player and his “bools” to the scene of the contest ?
Then again, year after year, Scouller not only played in the singles, but took charge of the rink with all the extra travelling entailed. The truth was, of course, that Scouller was as accomplished a skip as he was a singles player. Indeed it is said that often he surprised even his own players by the rapidity with which he grasped the positions and possibilities of a rink head. As a skip he was so far ahead of anyone on the green that he was the obvious choice if he could be persuaded to take over the rink. That he did well is shown by the performances of the Corstorphine rink while he was in charge – four times in the District final and three times at Glasgow in six attempts.
One thing that was much commented on by player and spectator alike was Scouller’s beautiful delivery. His long reach seemed to ensure that the bowl was truly on its course before it slipped gracefully from his fingers. A newspaper report puts it thus “No player engaged could compare with Scouller for style of delivery. Every bowl ‘zipped‘ along the grass from the time it left his hand.”
In 1923 in the midst of his greatest triumph, Willie Scouller suffered defeat in the club Championship – the first defeat since 1914. James Dempster beat him in the semi-final, to be in turn defeated by John Brown in the final. Next season, W. H. Scouller again reached the semi-final to fall to William Henderson who went on to win the title. Scouller, however, added two more green titles in 1927 and 1929 to his list of championships, making eleven in all – a club record that is not likely to be beaten for a long time.
In 1922 when the Corstorphine Club joined the Edinburgh Association W. H. Scouller reached the semi-final of the Tait Trophy and in 1927 and 1929 he went out in the earlier rounds. This is one of the few trophies for which he competed without success.
Everyone on the green was tremendously proud of Scouller, but apart from that he was personally popular with the members. One hears of prominent players who will only play with certain people on the green, but W.H.S. was never like that. He was always approachable and when he came into the club house would ask whoever was there at the time to make up either a rink or pairs or whatever he wanted.
When leading for Scouller, there was one golden rule that had to be observed – never leave bowls in front of the jack. Two or three short bowls and a quiet word would come from the champion, sometimes followed then, or at the end of the game, with a little lecture on short bowls from the skip’s point of view.
CIVIL SERVICE BOWLING ASSOCIATION.
During the years following his Scottish successes, Mr. Scouller devoted a good deal of his time to the Civil Service Bowling Association though he found time to serve for one year in 1927 as secretary of the Corstorphine Club.
The East of Scotland section of the Civil Service Bowling Association was founded in 1923 with W. H. Scouller as secretary of the Edinburgh area and he played fairly regularly in their competitions.
Season 1923 gave Scouller his first C.S. title, for in that year he succeeded in winning the East of Scotland Single handed championship. Later in the same season he represented Scotland in the C.S. International Championships which were played in London. He beat his Welsh opponent 21-8 but fell to the English player 12-21. The latter won the first championship by also defeating the Welsh representative.
The following year the International Finals were played in Edinburgh, and W. H. Scouller took part in two events. He and W. Weir of the Coltbridge Club won the local Pairs title and a G.P.O. Engineers rink J. McStravick, R. R. McGregor, W. Weir and W. H. Scouller (skip) annexed the Rink title. These players represented Scotland in the Internationals, but England foiled them in both events.
In the Pairs, W. H. S. and W. Weir easily defeated the Welsh pair 24-8, but the English pair proved a shade the better and won a close game 20-17. The rink had a similar experience for, after beating Wales 21-10 they allowed England to win the Trophy by one shot after appearing to have the match well won. This match was played at Craigmillar Park in a drizzle of rain which at first did not seem to affect the home players, for at the fifteenth end they led 17-8. Their opponents scored two 3’s at the sixteenth and seventeenth ends, and then managed to secure and keep the odd shot at each of the last four ends. One of his opponents has left it on record that –
“ Scouller’s last wood was a wonderful shot. We had left him with the barest chance of a draw, but he got through and, had it not been that the green had dried very fast in the last half hour he would not have over-run the jack by that odd two inches which gave the nominal victory to England “
Scouller’s next appearance was in 1926 when he once again won the East of Scotland Singles Title and again travelled to London in search of the major honour. In this he gained a very popular success. After both W.H.S. and the Welsh player, T. McGowan Hole had beaten the English representative, the two of them met and it is stated that Hole gave Scouller “a good run for his money.” The final score 21-20 surely justifies this statement.
In 1927, when the games were again played in Edinburgh, Scouller’s previous rink with D. S. Graham in place of R. R. McGregor won the East of Scotland title and played for Scotland but without success losing to both Wales 16-29 and also to England 20-21.
With W. Weir as partner W. H. Scouller won the East of Scotland and Scottish Pairs Championships in 1932 and 1935, and in 1933 Weir and Scouller won the International Pairs Trophy during the Tournament week held in Edinburgh. They beat both the English and Welsh representatives.
During the years he was prominent in the bowling world, Mr. Scouller did a considerable amount of writing, and Bowling notes and articles on various phases of the game were contributed by him to many periodicals. Amongst these was a weekly column of Bowling Notes which, for some years, he wrote under the title of “Jack High” for the Edinburgh Evening Dispatch.
The following extract from an article he wrote on “Single Handed Play” is very interesting as giving his views on two of the fundamentals of the game the bowl and the drawing shot. This article originally appeared in the “Manual of the London and Southern Counties B.A. of 1924” and it was reprinted in the “Civil Service B.A. Handbook of 1926.”
“For the game itself a full set of four bowls is required, not two pairs. There used to be an idea prevalent that a narrow pair and a wide pair were essential to success in the single‑handed game but little is heard of such a belief nowadays. I was very particular about the make when ordering my own set from Mr. Taylor, Glasgow, in 1901, and have never regretted it. Both in size and weight they have the maximum limit allowed by the laws of the Scottish Bowling Association, and although such large bowls will not suit the holding capacity of all players, I would strongly impress on such the desirability of having, at any rate, the maximum weight. What is the use of having a bowl so light that it makes very little impression on an opponent’s wood, or one which is easily dislodged by a bowl of greater weight? A player, no matter what sport he takes up, will always play a better game, the better implements he uses.
I am often asked which branch of the single-handed game should be most practised in order to ensure success, and my reply is always the same, viz.: drawing. The delightful trail, the pretty rest through, and the spectacular drive are all very well, and bowling would be robbed of most of its charm if shots like these were eliminated from the game; but they should be used sparingly and a return made to the basic draw at once. No doubt there are a few players who can instantly regain perfect drawing weight after a quick shot, but the great majority cannot, and if their drive is unsuccessful, as I imagine 80 per cent. or so are, they suffer a double loss – the waste of a good bowl and delicacy of touch for their next draw. If, therefore, any one of my readers has a shot to play which looks temptingly easy as a drive, I counsel him to have a second look at the position and see if his object could not be obtained equally well by drawing. If so, take my advice, and draw.”
Mr. W. H. Scouller is not only an expert at Bowls, he is also an expert Whist player. President and founder of the Corstorphine Whist Club, he was also for some years President of the Edinburgh and Leith Whist Association. The writer has before him now a book on the game of Whist published by Mr. Scouller in 1923. He had written a weekly series of Whist Notes in one of the local papers and some of these articles were reprinted in book form.
In March, 1938, the Annual General Meeting of Corstorphine Bowling Club paid Mr. W. H. Scouller the highest tribute in its power by unanimously electing him an Honorary Life Member of the Club.
Mr. Scouller has not played very much on the green during the past few years. Since the beginning of the war he has been residing in the country, but when things are settled down again, it is hoped we may all have the opportunity of seeing that brilliant exponent of the game in action once more on the Green.
For the purposes of the records during these eventful years the club was singularly fortunate in having as secretary, Mr. Robert Nicholson. This gentleman was Vice-President in 1912, President in 1913, and Secretary of the club during the ten years following. The only picture he leaves of himself is, when he retired in 1923, he stated that he was seventy years of age, and as his health had not been too good lately, he felt he required a rest.
Mr. Nicholson was Vice-President to Mr. Scouller ; he succeeded him in the chair, and he was destined to be secretary of the club during the ten years of Scouller’s triumphs. His resignation in 1923 coincided with the last of W. H. Scouller’s Scottish successes. From people who knew him it is gathered that Mr. Nicholson was rather a personality, but as a secretary “Auld Nick” as he is still familiarly and kindly referred to, deserves a special place in any history of the club for the minutes he has handed down. They give a very full account of the club’s activities, and by means of press cuttings pasted into the Minute book, Mr. Nicholson has left us a particularly vivid picture of these stirring years.
News cuttings are there of the opening and closing ceremonies on the green ; details of the treats to wounded soldiers during the last war, with all their merriment, hat-trimming competitions, etc., and above all, with full and detailed reports, and even pictures of Scouller’s successes. He has even re-produced in the book the actual score card, end by end, of the semi-final and final of one of W. H. Scouller’s Scottish wins.
Mr. Nicholson, like all the other members of the club, was intensely proud of W. H. Scouller and this is shown clearly by the care which has been taken with the records. Indeed, when reading the Minute Books of this period, one has an uncanny feeling that Mr. Nicholson knew his minutes and cuttings would be required in years to come, possibly for a history of the club, but more probably with reference to the spectacular successes of his old friend Willie Scouller.
W. H. SCOULLER’S RINK PLAYERS
While dealing with W. H. Scouller’s bowling career mention must be made of those players who were associated with him in his rink and pairs successes. During these years the club had a number of first class players, but owing to the brilliance of Scouller, they had to be content as finalists in the club championship and got no opportunity of going out in the Scottish single ties.
Probably the player who most often took part in the big games with W. H. Scouller was George Paterson. From 1913 to 1921 he played third in all Scouller’s representative rinks. In 1920, when the club sent both W.H.S. and the rink to Glasgow, Scouller elected to play in the singles and George became skip and took the rink through the first round, only to be narrowly beaten in the second by the rink which ultimately won the championship. The following year he again played at Queen’s Park. In 1912, he skipped one of the rinks when the Midlothian Trophy was won and in 1915 he played third in the winning Carmichael Cup rink.
George Paterson was previously a member of the Broxburn Club where he had been both President and Champion. He joined Corstorphine in 1910 and his first success came in that year in the “Pairs” which he won in partnership with Hugh Paterson. He was twice more a “Pairs” winner in 1916 and 1918.
In 1916 he was defeated in the final of the club championship by Scouller and it was not till 1925 that he won his only title. He was then 75 years of age. For a few years, round about this time, it was the custom to run a Whist Drive and Dance a few days after the close of the season at which the prizes were presented. George had been seriously ill but had sufficiently recovered to be present for a short time. When the veteran came up to be presented with the cup he received such an ovation from the company that he was obviously deeply moved by his reception.
Mr. Paterson was as well known on the curling pond as he was on the bowling green and he had many prizes gained at the “roaring game.” His death in 1929 robbed the club of one of its most prominent personalities.
James Dempster was a leading figure in the club some years before W. H. Scouller joined in 1910, and he was one of the finest players the club ever had. His three championships were won in 1905, 1906 and 1909, and he skipped the winning Kerr Medal rink for two years, 1909 and 1910. In 1923 he was the man who brought W. H. Scouller’s long run of successes in the club championship to an end in the semi-final. John Brown, however, beat him in the final tie. When the club won the Midlothian Trophy in 1912, Mr. Dempster skipped one of the rinks and finished 24 up. He played in Scouller’s rink of 1913 which reached the S.B.A. District semi-final, and in 1920 when the rink was recast, he played third to George Paterson at Queen’s Park. Next season he played right through the District Competition, and a second time at Glasgow.
For a year in 1908, Mr. Dempster was Treasurer of the club, and he wound up the accounts relating to the erection of the Pavilion. He was honoured by the club by being elected Vice-President in 1921 and the following year was President to welcome W. H. Scouller and the cup to Corstorphine. For many years he was a member of committee, and latterly was auditor. His tragic death on Good Friday, 1932, as a result of a road accident was deeply regretted by his many friends on the green and in the district. Mr. Dempster was employed in the City Assessor’s Department of Edinburgh Corporation and one of the saddest features of the tragedy was that he was just about to be appointed Assistant City Assessor. The recommendation was to have come before the appropriate committee of the Town Council during the week following that in which he was killed.
ROBERT C. WILSON
Mr. Robert C. Wilson joined the club in 1912. At that time and for some years afterwards the rinks and pairs which went out to represent the club in the various competitions were elected by vote of all the members. Bob’s play early brought him into prominence and from 1914 onwards he was consistently included in representative games. Mr. Wilson was a member of the rink which in 1914 reached the S.B.A. District final. He was included in W. H. Scouller’s successful Carmichael rink in 1915. He played in the rinks which won at the Willowbrae Tournament in 1918, and at Musselburgh in 1920. In 1919 he was Scouller’s partner when the Hope Trophy was won and he holds a badge for success in the “Midlothian” – the three rink competition – in 1912. In the club championship he twice beat all but W. H. Scouller, being finalist in 1919 and 1921. Bob Wilson’s name appears on the Kerr Medal as winning skip in 1921 and he won the Vice-President’s prize in 1918. He was honoured by the Edinburgh Association in 1924 when he played against the Canadian Touring team, the match resulting in a win for Edinburgh by 10 shots.
Mr. Wilson has also taken a great deal of interest in the business side of the club. Vice-President in 1915 he occupied the chair in 1916 and in 1924 he succeeded Mr. Nicholson as secretary and remained in this post for three seasons.
ROBERT S. WYLLIE
Mr. Robert S. Wyllie was a very popular member of the club. He was champion in 1918 but as the S.B.A. competitions were then in abeyance he did not get the opportunity to play in the Scottish Singles ties. He skipped the rink which won the Kerr Medal in 1920 and the same season he won the Vice-President’s prize. Bob Wyllie played several times in the Scottish rink. In 1920 he came into the rink when it was re-arranged for Queen’s Park but in 1921 he played in the District ties and again at Glasgow. When the club rink won the Willowbrae Red Cross Tournament in 1918 Bob played lead for W. H. Scouller. Mr. Wyllie died in 1927.
JAMES H. HUNTER
Joining the club in 1911, Mr. James H. Hunter only occasionally entered for the club competitions though in 1914 he skipped the winning Kerr Medal rink. It is in representative rinks that his name appears most often. In 1915 he was lead in the Carmichael Cup winning rink and in 1920 he played in the rink which won the S.B.A. District competition, and he took part in the Queen’s Park championships when George Paterson skipped. W. H. Scouller played him again as lead in the rink which won the Musselburgh Tournament in the same season. Mr. Hunter was secretary of the club for a year in 1913 and served for many years on committee. He was Vice-President in 1920 and the following year occupied the chair.
The bowls used by W. H. Scouller (WHS) during a distinguished bowling career:-
- Club Champion on eleven occasions between 1911 and 1929
- S.B.A. Championship (Singles) – Runner-up 1919 & 1920
- S.B.A. Championship (Singles) – Champion 1922 & 1923
- Scottish Internationalist in 1914 and 1919, and Captain of Scotland in 1920 & 1921
- Honorary Life Member of Corstorphine Bowling Club (1938)
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THE LATER YEARS
When the club commenced play in 1891 the journey to the city had to be made by the railway from Saughton Station or by the three-horsed bus along the country road to the tram terminus at Coltbridge. Following the end of the war in 1918 and the extension of the city in 1920 to include Corstorphine, great changes took place in the village. New streets of houses went up almost overnight and the trams were extended right through Corstorphine. The country road of the three-horsed bus was now a broad highway and trains from Corstorphine Station, trams and buses carried their thousands to the city daily. Shops and blocks of flats were replacing the old villas along the new tram route. The shop where old John Snow carried on his business still remains, though it is not now a butchers, while his stable is now a garage housing somebody’s motor van. On the site of his slaughter-house alongside there now stands an up-to-date block of shops and flats.
The village life also changed rapidly as Corstorphine, from a Midlothian village, became a great and growing suburb of the Capital city of Edinburgh and the bowling club changed with it. As the new people came the membership soared. When the green was opened in 1898 there were thirty five members and the high watermark was reached in 1922 when the club boasted 125 members. This was rather more than one green could carry and eventually in 1925, the membership was fixed at 110. From that date there has always been a waiting list for membership and the wait has sometimes been as long as three years.
The committee were fully alive to this and made arrangements while the ground alongside the green was unbuilt on, to obtain an option for £300 on ground adjoining, sufficient for the laying down of a second green and for a new pavilion when required. It is easy enough to be wise after the event, but it is a great pity that the scheme was turned down by the Special General Meeting in June, 1926.
The then Committee suggested a levy of one pound per member for two successive years to meet the cost, and it was perhaps this suggestion that the meeting resented. The “Noes” got in the saddle right at the start and rode the meeting through, with the result that the proposal was heavily defeated. And so the club lost, for all time, the chance of a second green beside the present one. It did not seem to be generally known at that time, and nothing appears to have been said at the meeting of the financial aid promised which would have materially reduced the prospects of the obviously objectionable levy. Following this meeting and the many changes going on in the village, the club arranged for a proper lease being prepared between the Public Hall Co. and the club to replace the old minute in the books of the Hall Co. which was all that had been considered necessary up to that time.
In the years following this set back to the club schemes play continued as before, but the club did not have the great successes as when W. H. Scouller was in his record-breaking form. The amalgamation with Edinburgh also meant the severance of the club from the Midlothian Association and the linking up with the Edinburgh and Leith Association. Corstorphine had been members of the Midlothian body for twenty years, and as their competitions were very popular with the members, they were loath to leave their friends in the County. So much so that when the question was first brought up, it was flung out, and it took another year’s talking before the members could be persuaded to change their allegiance. It was 1922 before Corstorphine first took part in the City competitions.
The club’s first success in their new sphere came in 1926 when William Scobie (2) won his first club championship and went on to win the Tait Trophy which carries with it the championship of Greater Edinburgh. In the first and second ties he disposed of J. Howden, Pilrig, by 21-18, and J. Lawson, Mayfield, 21-9. Then in the semi-final he just managed to beat J. W. Fordyce of Juniper Green 21-20. T. N. Stanford of Northern faced him in the final and there was little in the game till a shower of rain altered the green. Willie Scobie got the hang of it more quickly and ran out winner 21-18.
During the Autumn of 1930 and the Spring of 1931, while Mr. S. Garvie was President, a big alteration was made in the pavilion. Until then the building had a verandah facing the green, but this space was incorporated in the pavilion proper, the front wall being brought forward. Several minor alterations were also made at the same time and the total cost was about £160. To complete the internal decoration of this extended clubhouse, a very fine panel, to contain the names of the Presidents and Champions, was presented in 1933 by Mr. Robert Macnab.
1933 also saw the adoption of a new flag. Before this the Scottish Lion had been flown on match days and other special occasions but in that year the committee decided on a new flag. A design was prepared showing the arms of the Forresters of the old Corstorphine Castle – three hunting horns stringed – on a blue ground, and this new flag has proudly floated over the clubhouse since. A club badge with a similar design had been adopted in 1929. The adoption of the club badge and later the flag, were mainly due to the efforts of Mr. Albert Lewis, President in 1929. He was an ex-naval man and has now left the district. While in Corstorphine Mr. Lewis presented the club with two garden seats made of the deck wood from H.M.S. New Zealand, on which he had served during the last war.
The club had regularly sent their first and second XVI.s to take part in the annual competitions for the Association Trophies, but it was not until 1933 that any success was achieved. During that season the the second XVI. succeeded in winning the Reid Trophy with a score of 45 shots up. Craigentinny were second with 41 shots, and the next club, Caledonian, 24 up. The winning rinks and their scores were as follows :-
John Tait. John Thomson.
Jas. Robinson. Allan Ogg.
David Thomson. Tom Keir.
W. C. Murray (Skip) Robt. Cramb (skip)
20 up. 16 up.
John Hogg. Jack Scouller.
S. L. Griffiths. Jas. Brown.
Wm. Henderson. Geo. Stewart.
W. H. Cooke (skip) John Young (skip)
10 up. 1 down.
The gold badges presented by the Association were won by Mr Murray’s rink who were the highest scorers.
Two years later, in 1935, the club rink won the Richardson Trophy, that much prized S.B.A. cup which is played for in Glasgow. The rink was made up of John Hume, Alex. Hossack, Wm. Scobie (1) and Wm. Scobie (2) skip, and the winning score was 38 up. An interesting sequel to this came the following Sunday when the Minister of St. Ninian’s Church announced from the pulpit that a rink composed of four of the office-bearers in the church had won an important bowling competition during the week.
The club has not, so far, had much success in the Edinburgh Association Coronation Rink Trophy, but in 1938 they reached the semi-final to fall to the Northern Club, who went on to win the Trophy. The Corstorphine rink was D. Borthwick, G. T. Haddow, W. Scobie (1) and David Thomson (skip).
In 1939 Mr. T. H. Begg, the club champion of the previous year, did very well in the S.B.A. District Competition. He had a fight to win his first tie 21-19, but when he went on to easily defeat his next three opponents 21-9, 21-9 and 21-11 to reach the final, Corstorphine hopes were rising, The members began to look forward to once again seeing their champion at Queen’s Park. It was not to be, however, as Niddrie were successful in the final by 21-14.
Next year the club did even better as in the Scottish “Pairs” Wm. Scobie (1) leading and Wm. Scobie (2) skipping won the District Competition. The final tie when Corstorphine beat Summerside by about 10 shots was played on Whitehouse and Grange green in a downpour of rain. At Glasgow, however, Corstorphine were defeated in the first round. They allowed their opponents to get too big a lead, and in spite of a great second half, were narrowly beaten.
The year 1940 also saw the question of the green settled. The playing surface had not been satisfactory for years. Several schemes for returfing parts of the green had been tried out, but though the turf might have been improved, the real trouble had been the level of the green. Ultimately, the committee, with Mr. David Borthwick as President, decided to recommend lifting the turf and re-levelling the whole surface. When the scheme had been prepared, a Special Meeting of the members was called. The estimated cost was about £200, and unlike 1926, the scheme was easily carried. The financial side was very carefully handled by the Chairman and no suggestion of a levy on the members was made. It was left to the committee to arrange for the cash required and when an appeal was later made to the members, all that was required – about half the total – was easily obtained on free loan.
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LONG SERVICE OFFICIALS
George Amos joined the club in 1902 and was Treasurer for twenty-five years from 1909 to 1934. His careful and accurate work during that long period has been of great assistance in the preparation of this history.
On a success being achieved the occasion was always one for congratulations and much handshaking when the players returned, but when the members of committee solemnly marched in and took their seats in the committee room, they forgot to mention officially the success just gained, with the result that no record of it appeared in the minutes. In Mr. Nicholson’s time his extensive press cuttings collection amply filled the gaps, but for other periods many enquiries have been necessary to establish the details of the successes gained.
Later, when a systematic examination of Mr. Amos’ books was made, immediate proof was forthcoming of many dates and details. Everything had been methodically entered with meticulous accuracy. In those instances where the prize money had been paid to the club it was carefully recorded in his cash book, on one side as received and on the other as paid out, in value, to the winners. Thus we find that Mr. W. H. Scouller received a prize value £3 when he won the Rosebery in 1912 and that, whisper it not, the club made a profit of 1s. 4d. on the prize money for the Midlothian the same year. The cash received from the Midlothian Association amounted to £9 13s. 4d. while the cost of twelve gold badges for the winning players was £9 12s. The successful Carmichael rink in 1915 divided £3 6s. 8d. and the Hope Trophy in 1919 resulted in £1 18s. 4d. being shared between W. H. Scouller and R. C. Wilson. In 1915 when the club were joint runners up in the Midlothian £2 was received and those two wonderful entries of £20 in 1922 and 1923 – the like of which does not appear in any other bowling club Treasurer’s books in successive years – are there for all the world to see.
The club was certainly well served during these years and it never made a better choice than when Mr. Amos was asked to take over the Treasurership. From 1913 to 1930 Mr. J. A. Findlay as Auditor about whom we have more to say later, in another connection, and Mr. George Amos as Treasurer made a great combination, and the club was the poorer when they retired. It was an honour richly deserved when in 1932, Mr. Amos was made an Honorary Life Member of the club.
On the playing side George was one of the most successful prize winners in the club. He never won a championship, though he was finalist in 1908, but he must have gained, in numbers, nearly as many prizes as Willie Scouller himself. In 1905, from the list of prizewinners given on another page, it will be seen that he won the “Pairs,” was finalist in the handicap, and semi-finalist in the championship. Through the years following, his name appears repeatedly. Altogether he won the handicap no less than three times, the last time in 1925 from a handicap of 5 behind scratch, was finalist twice and semi-finalist once. He also won the “Pairs” three times in 1903, 1905 and 1919, and he has been successful in winning prizes several times in the Points games.
Mr. Amos spent a lifetime in the service of the Edinburgh Evening News and his home is decorated with trophies gained in the News Bowling Club. George has now retired from business and advancing years have somewhat impaired his activities, but there is always a warm welcome for him when he comes down to see the later stages of the competitions in which, for years, he took such a prominent part.
ROBERT F. MOLLISON
The Corstorphine Club has always liked to keep its old friends and Mr. Robert Mollison of Woodbine Nursery has been Green Ranger since 1920 with a break of a few years in the 30’s when the calls of his business prevented his accepting office. Even then his advice was sought when any difficult “turf” problem was under consideration. His father, Mr. George Mollison was one of the original eighteen members who formed the club and was the first green ranger away back in the old “Dunsmuir” days. Bob was born and has lived practically all his life in the club atmosphere. Today Ranger Bob is respected and trusted with probably the finest playing surface the club has had in its long history.
As a player Bob Mollison has also a good record. He reached the final of the championship in 1924. and he has twice won the President’s prize in 1922 and 1925 – the last time from behind scratch. In 1919, his first year in the club, he won the Vice-President’s prize. He was also for some years a 1st XVI. skip and has been chosen to skip the club S.B.A. rink.
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Although the club has now no International player in active membership there are quite a number of good club players and of these Mr. William Scobie, the Dairyman of Claycote Dairy, with five championships, is probably the most prominent. He is known as Wm. Scobie (2) to distinguish him from the other Wm. Scobie, who is also a prominent player and who has been a member of the club since 1908.
William Scobie (2) came to Corstorphine and joined the club in May 1925. His first championship was won in 1926 when he went on to secure the Tait Trophy. His other green titles came in 1928, 1933, 1934 and 1935. In the S.B.A. District Competition he has reached the semi-final. During 1935 he skipped the winning Richardson Trophy rink while in 1940 along with his namesake he won the District Pairs and played at Queen’s Park. The Edinburgh Association has chosen him to play against two touring sides, the South Africans and Essex County.
In club competitions he has had many successes. He skipped the winning rink in the Walker Shield in 1932 and has twice won the “Pairs” – in 1929 with D. Petrie and in 1940 with W. H. Cooke. In the Points game he won first prize four years in succession. The club elected him President in 1930 and for two years, 1933 and 1934, he was Green Ranger.
William Scobie (1) has a long record of successes in the club. The championship final has not been a very good match for him, as he has been five times in that stage with only one win in 1936. He played in the winning Richardson rink in 1935 and in the District Pairs, and at Queen’s Park in 1940. The President’s prize came to him in 1916 and 1919, and the Vice President’s in 1922, 1930 and 1932 while he has twice won the “Pairs” in 1930 and 1932 with A. Hossack and A. Bowick respectively. His name is the last on the Kerr Medal, the winning rink for which he skipped in 1930. On the official side of the club, Willie was President in 1928 and Secretary from 1931 to 1940.
John Brown has three championships to his credit, 1923, 1931 and 1940. When W. H. Scouller was at the height of his triumphs in 1923 he went out of his way to say a word of praise for the young player who had that year won his first title. John has fulfilled Scouller’s hopes as, in addition to three wins, he has been finalist twice in 1930 and 1936. John Brown won the President’s prize in 1930 and the Vice-President’s in 1940. His name also appears on the Kerr Medal for 1927.
The only other player in the club who has won the championship more than once is John Tait. He joined the club in 1932 and reached the final of the championship the following year to fall to Wm. Scobie (2). When his turn did come he won it twice in three attempts – in 1937 and 1939. John played third for Willie Scouller in his two Walker Shield successes and he holds a gold medal for the Reid Trophy in 1933.
The players who have won one championship are William Henderson (1924) who also has a “Pairs” success in 1933. Andrew Coventry (1930) who also won the President’s prize in 1927, and William Wight (1932) who again reached the final in 1934.
Tom H. Begg joined the club in 1937 and won the President’s prize the same year. Next season he won the championship, and in that following he reached the District Singles final before being beaten.
Sidney Griffiths, the Treasurer, whose first championship came in 1941 has an imposing list of successes crowded into a few years. In 1937 he played lead to A. Kilgour in the Winning “Pairs”. It must be explained that the “Pairs” entries are arranged into “Leads” and “skips” before being drawn and that the winners are both drawn as “skip” the following year. Next year in 1938, Sid, with A. Bowick leading, again won the “Pairs”. The following year the President’s prize fell to the Treasurer and, with a year’s break, he went on to be a very popular winner of the Jubilee Championship.
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The silver Championship Cup was presented to the club by Dr. T. N. Johnston of Corstorphine House in 1901 and has engraved on it the name of every champion since that date.
During the same year Mr. John Kerr, one of the original members of the club, presented a solid silver medal for Rink competition. The medal is about 2½ inches in diameter with an ornamented top incorporating two miniature bowls. On the back of the medal appear the names of the winning skips and many famous names in the club history are recorded there. The space on the back of the medal was filled in 1930 and it has not been played for since.
In 1929 Mr. Andrew Walker presented a handsome shield for Rink competition and it was first played for in that year. On small shields on the wood mount are recorded the names of the players in the winning rink. Like every other club trophy it was not long before W. H. Scouller’s name appeared on it. He skipped the winning rink in 1934 and 1935. One other player, William McLaren, has also skipped the winning rink twice – in 1937 and 1938 – and in addition he has been finalist in 1931, 1939 and 1941. William McLaren’s name also appears on the Kerr Medal for 1926.
Little mention has been made in these notes of the social side of the club. There has been, as in all other bowling clubs, Dinners, Whist Drives and Dances and many have been the happy nights spent by the bowlers. Even Willie Scouller could, on occasion, entertain the company with a song, and sometimes Mr. J. A. Findlay read a poem of his own composition.
Now the reader will be familiar with the secretary who filled his minute book with press cuttings but not perhaps with the auditor who left prints of his poems pasted in the account books. Mr. J. A. Findlay was a member of the club from 1912 to 1930. He is now dead, but for many years he audited the club books. This poem by him, with its very appropriate title, was found pasted in an old cash book, and we will end the story of the Corstorphine bowlers with Mr. Findlay’s greeting from the old time members to all present and future players in the grand old club.
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1912. Scottish Championship (Rink) Finalists.
Scottish District (Rink).
Rosebery Cup (Singles) – W. H. Scouller.
1914. Scottish District (Singles) – W. H. Scouller.
Scottish District (Rink) Finalists.
W. H. Scouller, Internationalist.
1915. Carmichael Cup (Rink).
Midlothian Trophy – Runners-up.
1919. Scottish Championship (Singles) Finalist – W. H. Scouller.
Scottish District (Singles) – W. H. Scouller.
Hope Trophy (Pairs).
W. H. Scouller, Internationalist.
1920. Scottish Championship (Singles) Finalist – W. H. Scouller.
Scottish District (Singles) – W. H. Scouller.
Scottish District (Rink).
W. H. Scouller, Internationalist – Captain of Scottish Team.
1921. Scottish District (Rink).
W. H. Scouller, Internationalist – Captain of Scottish Team.
1922. Scottish Champion (Singles) – W. H. Scouller.
Scottish District (Singles) – W. H. Scouller.
1923. Scottish Champion (Singles) – W. H. Scouller.
Scottish District (Singles) – W. H. Scouller.
1926. Tait Trophy – W. Scobie (2).
1933. Reid Trophy.
1935. Richardson Trophy.
1939. Scottish District (Singles) Finalist – T. H. Begg.
1940. Scottish District (Pairs).
Present Members of the Club.
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HONORARY LIFE MEMBERS
George Amos (1932).
William H. Scouller (1938).
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|W. H. Scouller
|R. C. Wilson
|W. M. Ross
|J. H. Hunter
|W. C. Murray
|G. T. Haddow
|W. Scobie (1)
|W. Scobie (2)
|R. C. Heatlie
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|W. H. Scouller
|W. Scobie (2)
|1937 and 1939
|W. Scobie (1)
|T. H. Begg
|S. L. Griffiths
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|A Greeting to future Generations of Bowlers from present Members of our Club by J.A. Findlay
|Far down the centuries of time
A greeting we would send,
With memories of auld lang syne
To bowlers without end.The honoured phrases of the play
Transcend in ancient lore:
We here record them in relay
To ages yet in store.“Too wide” then may ye never be,
Nor “narrow” by the way
“Take plenty grass” and you will see
You’re not “too thin” in play.“Be up” and true upon the spot,
“A back yin’s” handy there,
When ardent spirits drive a shot
Or carries on the pair.“A toucher” always cheers the heart
With chalk mark on its side:
The skip he greets the player’s part
And grasps his hand in pride.
|“Too steamy” be not in your pitch,
Aim sure for “Kitty’s” eye:
Avoid the danger of the ditch
Where all the “Dead men” lie.An “open port” on every tongue
When suddenly the “Jack” is sprung,
And shouts go up in “peels”.The chances of the game abound
In wit and humour keen:
A “kiss” and “cannon” oft resound
Across the rolling green.Sometimes in fear of running foul
The scene is picturesque
When players follow up the bowl
In attitudes grotesque !Long may the game with all its fun
And pleasures still survive;
And countless players still to come
“To draw the shot” may strive.
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