Scottish bowling internationalist; Born May 24, 1936; Died August 16, 2008.

Alex McIntosh, who has died suddenly aged 72, was one of Scotland's bowling greats. The Newbattle player remains, to this day, one of the country's most capped and successful national players, and at international level represented Scotland at the world championships in 1972, 1976, 1980 and 1988, and at Commonwealth Games in 1970, 1974 and 1978.

"Big Tosh", as he was affectionately known, was educated at the Newtongrange Primary School in Midlothian and then left Newbattle Senior Secondary when he reached 15 to take up employment as an engineer at the central workshops at Lady Victoria Colliery.

Fourteen years later, in 1963, he married Ann and they shared 32 happy years together before she died in 1995. They had two sons: John was born in 1965 and, on the very day that Alex won the Scottish National Fours Championship, in 1968, his second son Scott arrived - but that news was kept from him by his team-mates.

"We actually received the news that Alex was a father again halfway through the competition but decided not to tell him until later in case it put him off his game," said brother-in-law and former Scottish team captain John Slight.

In his teenage years, McIntosh began showing a keen interest in most sports, joining the National Coal Board boxing team and the Newtongrange Lothian cricket team. He was an enthusiastic billiards player and a keen golfer at Broomieknowe Golf Club.

But it was bowls at which he excelled the most, encouraged, no doubt, by the fact that it ran in his blood, with his father, four uncles and grandfather all involved in the sport. Unfortunately, however, his father didn't live to see the great heights that his son achieved, dying in the same year that McIntosh attained his first full outdoor cap in 1962.

After his first Scottish appearance, he had to endure a seven-year wait before pulling on the Scottish colours again in 1969, going on to earn 54 caps from 18 campaigns on the home international stage and becoming part of Scottish history when he contributed to Scotland's amazing record of securing the home international titles on 12 consecutive years.

Indoors, his record was also impressive, stacking up 30 indoor caps simultaneously from 10 series under the now defunct Edinburgh club banner along with two stints as the national singles champion before going on to end his international career in 1986 for Midlothian.

A year after being recalled to the international team, McIntosh made history at the 1970 Commonwealth Games, held on his home turf in Edinburgh, when the skipped his Newbattle clubmates John Slight, Norrie Pryde and David Pearson to the Fours silver medal - the first and only time that a club rink has achieved this distinction.

After that, there was no holding him back. He was again named in the Scottish team for the Commonwealth Games in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 1974, where, along with Jackie Christie from the Northern club, he gave Scotland their first ever gold medal in the Pairs event and, in the subsequent 1978 Games in Edmonton, Canada, was again on the podium giving Scotland its only medal of the event when he picked up silver along with his lifetime friend and adversary, Willie Wood.

Edmonton, though, was, without a doubt, his proudest sporting moment: it was where he marched with at the opening ceremony as the Scottish standard bearer.

He also courted glory on the world stage, winning Fours gold at Worthing in 1972, which contributed to Scotland being awarded the prestigious Leonard Trophy as the best performing team for the first time since the event's inauguration. And he also claimed silver in the Fours at Melbourne in 1980 and triples in Henderson, New Zealand, in 1988.

On the home front, he was also a force to be reckoned with, winning his Newbattle championship 19 times over six decades.

Bowling was without a doubt his life. Not only did he attain status as a revered player but in the 1970s he began his own business - Bowling Green Services, where he was responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of more than 20 clubs, before retiring in 2001.

He was one of Scotland's most successful sons, maintaining his involvement with the sport as the enthusiastic manager of Midlothian county team for the past two years.

Willie Wood said: "Alex and I came through the sport together. We played together at the old Edinburgh club in Milton Street, and forged a lasting, although competitive, friendship. I have many great memories of Alex. He was a great player, always encouraging, but the times I remember most were the fun times we shared after our matches. He liked to socialise and kept everyone entertained. He enjoyed company.

"He was greatly respected both on and off the green all over the world and everyone knew he was a force not to be messed with. He was a great character."

Alex McIntosh is survived by his two sons, and sisters Moira and Elma. By Anne Dunwoodie