BOWLING legend Willie Wood was given a rousing ovation as he took to the Alex Marshall Arena for the final time as a member of the East Lothian Indoor Bowls Club’s gents’ team on Saturday.

Wood, a veteran of 31 years’ service to the gents’ side, announced last week that the match against Elgin would be his home swansong.

Indeed, with the Garden County relying on results going their way to reach the Scottish Premier League playoff final, it may have been Wood’s final outing for the side.

But a home win at the Alex Marshall Arena and West Lothian’s slip-up against bottom side Paisley in their final fixture saw the top two swap places (see report right).

And that means that Wood’s 31-year career with the gents’ side will continue for one more match.

The Gifford resident, a star of eight Commonwealth Games, told Courier Sport: “We got to the final so it turned out not to be my last game, but it was my last at home.

“We’ll just have to see if they pick me [for the final].”

Wood, 79, said he felt now was the right time to call it a day.

“There are some really good young players and it’s time to let them have a go,” he said.

“I’m not as good as I used to be – I can’t play well my whole life.”

Wood’s glory days brought him two Commonwealth Games gold medals, in Brisbane in 1982 and Auckland eight years later.

While his time with the gents’ side is coming to an end, Wood told Courier Sport he has no plans to call it quits altogether.

He said: “I’ll still be playing in everything else – for the seniors and at club level; it’s just the gents’ team I’ll not be doing any more.

“I’ve got a British Triples final in Paisley next month so that is something to look forward to.”

And Wood, who was awarded an MBE in 1992 for services to sport, reflected on being part of the gents’ side for the past three decades.

He added: “The record that East Lothian has is untouchable at the moment – we hold the record number of title wins and it’s been great to be a part of it.”

Such has been his contribution to the sport that players from both sides applauded Wood onto the green on Saturday.

He is hoping to end with another title win in next month’s final.