Scotland’s hopes of etching their name on The Hilton Trophy for a 33rd time took a serious knock with the defending champions suffering a shock 4 shot defeat (99-103) from Ireland in yesterday evenings second match in the Home International Series being played at Stanley IBC in County Durham.
Ireland – who lost to England by 14 shots in their opening match – edged the first seven-end phase, 38-35, then dominated the second, 47-21, before Scotland produced a 43-18 fight back on the third. The time bell ended the match with 11 ends left unplayed. The rink results were, Colin Walker 26 Simon Martin 10; Stewart Anderson 22 Andrew Kyle 17; Neil Speirs 16 Barry Kane 15; Darren Burnett 12 Ian McLure 19; Derek Oliver 9 Gary Kelly 24; Mike Stepney 14 Stephen Coleman 24. The defeat has left the Scottish camp distressed ahead of today’s final match against England especially as their campaign got off to an encouraging start with a commanding 30 shot win ( 131-101) over Wales in the opening match. The 24 strong Scotland team included 14 players from Edinburgh and The Lothian’s coming in the shape of Colin Hutchison (Bainfield), Willie Wood MBE, Graham Robertson, Scott Kennedy, Billy Mellors, Derek Oliver, Jamie Higgins (All East Lothian). Also Neil Speirs, Thomas Mann, Calum Logan, Mark Allison, Bryan Cooper (all West Lothian), Ronnie Duncan, Colin Walker (both Midlothian).
A strong team performance from Scotland against Wales was reflected by wins on four of the six rinks and a start to finish domination of the major scoreboard that was enhanced by an early 9-0 clean sweep across the carpet on the second end to lead 17-7. No more clean sweeps were achieved over the span of the 21 end match however there were two major uplifts to team spirit in the shape of spectacular 18-2 and 16-2 returns on ends seven and 14 respectively.
The phase scoring shows Scotland making a strong start to build up an 18 shot lead over the first seven-ends, (51-33), then unable to punish Wales extensively but perform well enough to capture the middle phase 41-34 and the last one 39-34. Speirs basked in the limelight of being the top contributor having started well to skip Cooper, Martin Willamson, and Mann into an 18-11 lead then including a run of 1, 2, 4 in a strong finish to beat Mark Harding, 29-12. Walker and his rink of Higgins, Wood, and Iain McLean stretched from 14-9 to 22-9 with a run of 1, 1, 1, 5 and finished good 28-16 winners over Damian Doubler while Stewart Anderson included a super six at end seven as he skipped Gary Hutchison, Logan, and Kennedy to a 26-18 win over Robert Chisholm. Darren Burnett- with Allison at third – stretched to 23-7 with a run of 1, 5, 2 and celebrated a 24-16 win over Daniel Salmon however Mike Stepney – with Hutchison at second – suffered a 23-9 defeat from David Kingdon. Oliver and his front thee of Duncan, Robertson,