The Edinburgh & Leith 2015 dream of etching their name on the Hamilton Trophy is over and although it was a close call the heartbreak defeat by 2 shots (114-112) left the capital troops feeling they had blew it against Renfrewshire West in the quarterfinal of The Cities and Counties Championship.
Renfrewshire West qualified as runners up in the West section and were deemed to be the underdogs against and E&L team that had won the ultra competitive East section and by the luck of the draw benefiting from a home advantage with Bainfield the venue. To rub salt in the wounds of their surprise exit the home support had cheered wins on four of the six rinks however the combined margin of supremacy achieved by skips, Paul Veitch, Robert Marshall, Mal Hoggenbotham, and James Hogg only added up to nine shots. And not enough to cover the setbacks, albeit single figure ones, suffered by Jamie Gracie and Paul O’Donnell, and inflicted on them by C McFarlane and S Fisher respectively.
“ I can’t fault the spirit and effort put in by my E&L players who did come close to making it into the semi finals but that extra touch of magic was missing on vital occasions and the result just slipped away from us”, reflected team manager Willie Watson. Watson went into the fixture without engine room stars Andy Caldwell, Alan Brown, and Andy McNab then Willie McDonald became a late call off resulting in a recall for George Kirk and a switch of rinks and position for Gavin Smith.
E&L made a troubled start to the match having been forced unexpectedly onto the back foot to find themselves a sizeable 15 shots adrift (33-18) after five ends. It was taken as an encouraging sign that E&L steadied the ship over the next four ends and advantages of 7-5, 9-4, 9-2, and 10-8 not only wiped out the deficit but moved the capital side into a single shot lead with the master scoreboard now showing 53-52 after nine ends. The match script was now back on track and the expectancy within the E&L support on the banking was that a clear supremacy would be established however the kick on didn’t materialise and instead the favourites were back under pressure at 11 shots down (79-68) after 13-ends.
End 12 had been significant with Renfrewshire West cashing in on a mighty five for Jonathan Ross over Marshall to rock E&L back onto their heels with a 10-1 count across the green. E&L remained in arrears until the 19th end where the melting pot began to sizzle as the result of a 12-5 fight back that placed the match outcome on a 103-103 tightrope.
End 20 tilted the match result in the 109-108 direction of E&L but a tension filled climax went 6-3 in favour of Renfrewshire West. The rink scores were, P Veitch 18 S McLellan 13; R Marshall 19 J Ross 17; M Higgenbotham 21 D Houston 20; J Hogg 20 S Wotherspoon 19; P O’Donnell 18 S Fisher 23; J Gracie 16 D Moffat 22.