Goldenacre champion Mark Hogg is through to the quarterfinals stage of the District 14 national singles championship having survived an epic 28-end marathon battle against his Blackhall counterpart Grant Walker.
A thrilling climax to the head to head confrontation at Dean Bowling Club saw Hogg facing the exit door at 19-18 down but escape to victory by landing a 1, 2 knockout blow on an opponent who had also held the upper hand with a 14-11 lead. Hogg though had been the early pacesetter having stunned Walker with a full house 4 on the opening end then just doing enough to stay in the driving seat at 11-8 however a losing run of 3, 2, 1 brought him under pressure at 3 shots adrift. Peels were called at 14, 15, and 17 then as the battle for supremacy reached the nail-biting stage there was a no-shot at 19-18 before Hogg triggered the victory salute.
Scott Macintosh reached the national final in 2009 and with current back-to-back Tait Trophy triumphs to his name the 44 year old multi-times champion of London Road Foundry is the star name in the District 14 field. Macintosh was in fine form at Hillside to score an impressive 21-13 win over Robert Sloan of Leith and provides the next opposition to Hogg for a place in the semis.
Willowbrae champion Craig Duffus made a spectacular escape from the jaws of defeat having faced game against him at 20-11 down to Graham Flight of Dudley having suffered a severe collapse from 11-7 up at Portobello. Duffus saved his skin with a brilliant take-out that earned him a 4 shot reward to 15 then introducing a short-mat tactic he whizzed to 21 with further counts of 3, 1, 2. The Willowbrae champion next plays Frank O’Reilly of Queensberry who also emerged a 21-20 winner after an epic clash against Malky Thom of Hillside at Dudley.
Christian Berra of Postal powered to a 21-6 win over Craig McCall of Craigentinny at Tanfield and next plays Gordon Clark of Maitland who accelerated from 11-11 to beat Neil Hunter of Tanfield 21-12 at Goldenacre.
Pilrig champion Euan Craig beat Scott Walker of Wardie, 21-12 at Maitland and next plays George Johnston of Brunstane who progressed at the 21-15 expense of fancied Summerside challenger Kerr McKail.
Kirkliston champion Grant Logan – a record four times West Lothian Master – has reached the West Lothian semi final stage of the national singles championship having scored a convincing 21-9 win over Rikki Forrest of Kinneil at Bo’ness. Forrest represented top notch opposition and was on more familiar territory but it was Logan that hit the ground running and powered into a 15-1 lead that gave him a comfort zone to trade on. The quarterfinal play saw the departure of a one time leading name in the shape of Grant Knox with the Commonweath Games gold medal winner of 1986 from Armadale bowing out to a 21-12 defeat from Sandy McDougall of Glenmavis at Bankton Mains. Andy Dunnett – a two times WL Master – carries the Queensferry banner forward, finishing with a 3 to beat Rab Sharp of Watson Memorial, 21-12 at Kinneil while Glenn King of Bankton Mains beat Gary Morrison of Polbeth, 21-12 at Buchan Park.
West End BC made a great impression with their sportsmanship and good spirited enthusiasm but the debut of the Edinburgh Champions in the first round proper of The Co-operative Funeralcare sponsored Inter County Top Ten Tournament ended in defeat at Jedburgh. The points were shared 4-4 but the Borders champions just did enough to justify a narrow 3 shot victory (63-60) having benefited from a 20-7 supremacy in the Pairs against Ray Dorans and Moray Tait. Jedburgh also triumphed in the Singles with Euan Lindores having to play out of his skin to win a super battle, 21-18, against Donnie Gilbertson.
West End showed good class in the Triples and Fours – winning them both with Grant Pagan skipping Keith Gellaitry and Peter Gibb to a 15-11 win having recovered strongly from 9-1 down. The Four of Callum Gilbertson, Graham Hockaday, Murray Baillie, and Mark Church came close to a rescue act with their impressive 20-11 win from 8-7 down.
West Barns – semi finalists last season – stepped up their 2015 campaign with an impressive 6-2 away win over Bon Accord champions Westhill with icon figure Billy Mellors battling into an 11-5 lead then staying on to triumph 21-15 in the Singles. The rink of Dougie Kennedy, Billy Cormack, Scott Thorburn, and Calum Gordon were next off having added two singles to clinch an 18-15 win while the Triple of Ian Knox, Gary Landells, and Alister Kennedy converted an 11-0 lead into a 15-10 victory. The Pairs went down 13-11.