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Ninety years of Morayshire Indoor Bowling Association - team of the 80s Fochabers emerge as a force

By Craig Christie

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The latest part of Ronald Gordon's look back over nine decades of indoor bowling in his local league.

indoor bowls
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The 1980s proved to be a pivotal year for Moray Indoor Bowling Association with a strong array of clubs being successful during the decade.

See History made in the eighties for last part and links to previous decades in the history of the league.

Urquhart finished the previous decade as first division champions and opened the 80s by successfully defending their crown, with what surprisingly was to be their only championship of this decade.

But another club from the east was to emerge as the dominant force. Fochabers, who won the first division in 1978 were to become only the third club in the history of the association to win the title on three consecutive occasions.

Their successes in 1981, 1982 and 1983 emulated the feat of previous three-in-a-row champions New Elgin and Urquhart, and to this day they are the only three clubs to have managed such an achievement.

Fochabers assembled one of the strongest sides in the history of the association, showing remarkable consistency both at home and away.

New Elgin, themselves a powerful and experienced outfit, were to win in '84 and defend the title in '85.

Burghead, who gained promotion as second division winners just two years earlier, were perhaps surprise winners in '86 before Fochabers regained the trophy a year later after a play-off victory against Urquhart (played at Bishopmill).

A third championship of the decade arrived or New Elgin whil Garmouth repeated Burghead's success by winning the top league title just two years after winning the second division.

This was a great achievement for a small village club like Garmouth, earned by a terrific blend of mainly young players mixed with more experienced bowlers.

Sadly it proved to be Garmouth’s only first division championship and they were to withdraw from the association in the early 1990s.

Duffus claimed the second division title in 1980 with Garmouth winning in '81 and later in '87 ahead of their maiden first division glory.

Bishopmill doubled up with victories in '83 and '89, Elgin's Ex-Servicemen's Club were successful in '82 followed by Burghead, Spynie, Roseisle and Fogwatt all proving victorious during the decade.

In the Charity Cup, Burghead denied Fochabers a first success winning at the Gay Gordon in Lhanbryde in 1980, and the coast club also triumphed in the same competition in 1984.

Elgin clubs were regular Charity Cup champions with Kilymolymock in 1981, Bishopmill in 1983 and New Elgin in 1985 and 1987 taking the silverware back to Moray's capoital.

In between, Urquhart won in '82 and '86 before denying Fochabers a first success at the Ex-Servicemen’s Club in 1988 for their third success of the decade.

Fochabers' time would come a year later when they faced up to first division champions Garmouth, who were going for a league and cup double.

In a momentous final at Lossiemouth, the final went to extra ends where where former Garmouth player Billy Simpson played a magnificent bowl to win the Charity Cup for Fochabers for the first time.

Fochabers rightly earned the honour of team of the decade for their fourth triumphs in the first division as well as their maiden Charity Cup glory.

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