November

Scottish Badminton mourns for Lawrie Clark

It was with sadness that I learned of the death of Lawrie Clark.

Bittersweet, because aged 90, living at home with wife Pru and in full possession of his faculties, Lawrie could hardly complain about his allotted span.

It set me thinking about the first time I met him back in the 1960’s in the Paisley and District Badminton League.

The P and D as it was known, was played mainly in one court church or school halls, but was fiercely competitive with 6 mixed leagues of 6 teams each.

And perhaps no one was as competitive as Lawrie, with the possible exception of my own coach and mentor Bill Brown. Bill was famously combustible, easy meat for someone as canny and shrewd  as Lawrie, who seemed able to get under his skin like no one else.

I would watch fascinated as Lawrie’s gentle and persistent ribbing and running match commentary would finally cause Bill to explode.

Lawrie’s stock in trade was to serve high and wide, finally goading Bill into his own signature dish, a drive serve struck from just above his right ear , and travelling flat.

I myself experienced that same wide and high serve playing against Lawrie in the P and D mixed doubles, where I was  comprehensively outthought and beaten  by someone whom I now understand was my senior by over 20 years.

And as  I look back I can now see that  Lawrie was astute in so many ways, particularly in his choice of mixed partner (occasionally his wife the saintly Pru).

Lawrie went on to play in the West of Scotland mixed doubles league first of all for Twenty  Club, and then for County club (both Paisley)  , on one memorable occasion scoring an unlikely victory over then internationalist Mac Henderson.

He  played men’s doubles with Paisley player and friend Jimmy Stewart in the veterans’ competition at Meadowbank, a tournament which at that time was a low key adjunct to the Scottish Open.

This inspired him to set up and run for over 20 years the annual Scottish Masters tournament, which is a popular and much loved fixture at the Cockburn Centre to this day.

And he was the moving force behind the entry of the Scottish clubs into the European Club Championship.

I know that I speak for everyone today when I say that the  Badminton community has lost a great enthusiast and dear friend.

Ronnie Conway, former President and Chairperson.