EAST Lothian’s bowls legend Angus Blair has announced his retirement, ending the career of one of the county’s most accomplished bowls stars.
Blair has called time on a career that has spanned more than three decades, and seen the Haddington Bowling Club man claim a host of coveted prizes.
Blair, who celebrates his 52nd birthday on Saturday, first won the Haddington club’s championship as a 16-year-old, while he went on to win the title on 10 further occasions.
He broke into the Scotland team in 1984 and won the Scottish Singles title two years later.
Blair told Courier Sport: “I think the Scottish really stands out as a highlight – I won the British the following year but I think I got more enjoyment out of the Scottish.
On his decision to end his playing career, Blair said: “I lost my dad last year and my mum hasn’t been keeping the best of health recently, so I just want to spend more time with my family.
“My mum Agnes has always been a great supporter of mine and her and my dad [Douglas] used to travel all over the country to watch me play.
“It was a hard decision – the season has just started and I’ve probably played in the league since I was 14 or 15, so it is not an easy thing to do.”
Blair, whose son Jamie took up the sport and represented Scotland U25 before calling time on his fledgling career due to family commitments, said that he would miss the friends he has made.
“Most of my friends are bowlers and I suppose I’ll still see them, but not as much with me not playing,” he said.
“I think that is one of the things I will miss the most.”
Alongside his outdoor achievements, Blair was equally at home on the indoor circuit, where he represented Edinburgh and Midlothian before becoming a founder member of East Lothian in 1987, where he became the inaugural winner of the club championship.
He also won the East Lothian Opening tournament, which included David Bryant and Tony Allcock in the field, over a memorable weekend at Meadowmill.
John Henderson, a friend and former team-mate, also paid tribute to the retiring legend.
He told Courier Sport: “If anybody ever doubted there is such a thing as natural talent then watching Angus would have removed any doubts whatsoever.
“Looking back, he made the transformation from titles at club, county, national, international and world levels in a remarkably short period of time.
“Legend is a word that is used pretty freely but there can be no doubt that Angus Ogilvy Blair fits the bill perfectly at home and abroad in the world of bowls.”