SCOTLAND’S bowlers would have been battling it out for medals on the greens of Queensland right now if it were not for the coronavirus.

A dozen bowlers from Scotland – including East Lothian’s Alex Marshall MBE, Derek Oliver, Lauren Baillie-Whyte and Dee Hoggan – were due to travel to the World Bowls Championships in Australia.

Unfortunately, the global pandemic saw the event postponed and pushed back a year.

Tranent-based Marshall is no stranger to the competition, with 21 world titles – over indoor and outdoor – as well as five Commonwealth Games gold medals.

He had been due to represent Scotland in the pairs alongside Paul Foster, with the duo also scheduled to link up with Oliver and Ronnie Duncan for the fours.

Marshall said: “I think for all of us it is something on the bowling calendar that is one of the biggest events in the world.

“Everybody wants to perform and we were looking forward to it so much.

“The coronavirus came on at the beginning of March and it is quite disappointing [that the event has been postponed] but at the end of the day we all want to stay safe.

“The best decision was made to cancel the event.

“These things only come round every four years but what is good is they have put out new dates for roughly the same time next year.

“It gives us something to look forward to.”

The Scotland team were due to have flown out to the competition earlier this month before the action got under way at the beginning of this week.

However, the event has now been pushed back to May 25 next year.

Marshall said: “You put in a bit of training, try to get yourself in the right frame of mind and practice enough to get looking forward to the championships only for it to be cancelled within a couple of months.

“You have booked your flights, accommodation and your preparation is done.

“All of a sudden it is cancelled and it does hit you quite a bit.”

Oliver, from Cockenzie, was also to be lining up in the triples as he took part in his first World Championships.

Australia holds fond memories for the 36-year-old, who won gold in the the triples with Darren Burnett and Duncan and the fours with Marshall, Duncan and Foster in the Commonwealth Games there two years ago.

He said: “Obviously, they were special moments winning the two golds and it would have been nice to go back and win some more.”

Lauren Baillie-Whyte was due to take part in the triples alongside Hoggan and Claire Anderson before linking up with Anderson, Stacey McDougall and Kay Moran in the fours.

The Port Seton bowler said they would have gone there hoping to win, despite having been unable to bowl since February due to the global lockdown.

She said: “To play for you country is an honour.

“Of course, you always go playing to win.”

Tranent’s Hoggan was due to fly the flag for Scotland in two events at the competition, taking part in the singles as well as the fours.

She said: “I was looking forward to getting my chance in the singles.

“I played in the World Champion of Champions event, which is still a world event.

“That was two years ago in Sydney.”

Hoggan, who works for Charles River Laboratories, near Elphinstone, had another reason to look forward to the competition.

She turns 30 on Saturday and was due to spend it in Australia.

Aberlady’s Billy Mellors, who represented Scotland in the World Championships in Christchurch in 2008, was due to be travelling out as one of the coaches.

The trip was booked up 10 months in advance but the team was given the bad news that the competition was postponed earlier this year.

He said: “It is a real disappointment for myself and the other coaches.

“We put in quite a bit of work in the background to prepare for the games. They have moved the tournament on exactly a year, so we have preparations to do for then, but it is a huge disappointment.”