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Play has been cancelled in the Morayshire Indoor Bowling Association's 90th anniversary year, but the look back at some of the league's great players and achievements continues

By Craig Christie

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THE Morayshire Indoor Bowling Association’s 90th year ended in disappointment with the season being cancelled due to Covid-19.

A history of indoor bowling in Moray.
A history of indoor bowling in Moray.

Long-serving member Ronald Gordon’s step back in time through nine decades of the association charted a boom time for bowlers in the 50s, and this week he turns his attention to the swinging sixties.

It was an era which witnessed another first for the association.

Read more:

Part 1 - How it all started

Part 2 - Post-war restart

Part 3 - Achievements in the 1950s

In 1960, Urquhart - the previous year's Second Division champions - becoming the first club to gain promotion and follow up their success by winning the First Division championship a year later.

But Elgin clubs were to dominate the next seven years with Bishopmill winning two championships, and Kilmolymock claiming their first title since 1937. New Elgin again proved to be the most successful club of the decade winning three championships including back-to-back titles in 1966 and 1967.

Spynie were to emulate Urquhart by winning the Second Division in 1967 and taking the First Division crown at their first attempt a year later, in what must go down in the record books as an outstanding achievement for the country club.

Miltonduff replicated the feat of Urquhart and Spynie by winning the second tier title in '68 and the top championship in '69.

Forres Royal British Legion were to win two Second Divisions with newcomers Roseisle taking that title for their first honour in 1963.

Some of the truly great names of their generation were to win the coveted Association Singles during the decade.

George Garrow and Jock Young both won it for New Elgin, while Kilmolymock lifted the trophy three times in four years as W. Wilkie, J.S. Grant and G. Thomson all seized the glory.

Hopeman got in on the act through N. McPherson while Lossiemouth became the first club to win both singles in the same year as Jack Hendry took the Association Singles and A. Watt completed a unique double winning the Campbell Cup in 1961.

Three of the greatest players to have played within the association were to win the last three singles of the decade.

Fraser Bain (Elgin) won it for a second time in 1967, followed by Ed Anderson (Spynie) who became the first player to win both coveted singles trophies in the same year when he added the Campbell Cup and remained the only player in the first 72 years of the Association to complete the unique double.

Ian Williamson claimed the singles for Urquhart in 1969.

Anderson also won the Campbell Cup singles in 1964, 1966 and 1968, surely justifying him the title of the best player of the decade.

Winning his second Campbell Cup glory in 1967 was Dallas' Willie Ingram, while other winners in the sixties were Sandy Simpson (Burghead), J. Morrison (Duffus), W.I. Milne (Miltonduff ) andIan McIntosh (Alves).

Dallas were also successful in the Association Pairs competition on three occasions with the great Sandy Stephen involved in all three successes, twice with the aforementioned Willie Ingram and once with Alan Gill.

Spynie won twice with Ed Anderson, whose glories in the 1960s also included three North of Scotland Pairs wins. He teamed up with C. Czaranecki and C. Thomson for his two pairs titles.

Duffus won in 1967 through R. MacDonald and P. McIntosh and New Elgin won in 1961 with Jock Young claiming another title partnered with C. Anderson.

Another title for Fraser Bain was claimed in the pairs with a great name of the past in Jimmy Inch, who was one of the best players never to win the singles after losing in three finals.

Forres claimed a first association accolade, winning the pairs in 1964 with Jimmy Nicol and Alister Kelly gaining the prestige of making history for their club.

The rinks title amazingly produced a different winner for each year of the decade, proving the strength and depth of the association at this time.

Elgin, Bishopmill, Kilmolymock and New Elgin all took the trophy back to Moray's capital, while Dallas, Urquhart, Miltonduff , Burghead and Hopeman all tasted glory.

The Charity Cup began in 1960 and it was no surprise that New Elgin were the inaugural winners, going on to win it three times in the decade including an unprecedented three league and cup doubles in 1962, 1966 and 1967 - a feat which earnes them the title of team of the decade.

Elgin clubs won nine of the first ten Charity Cups with Bishopmill three-time winners including a league and cup double in 1965.

Miltonduff were the only non-Elgin club to claim the trophy with a brilliant win in 1963.

The sixties proved to be one of the greatest and most competitive decades of the Morayshire Indoor Bowling Association and was undoubtedly a great time to be part of the local bowling scene.

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