Tait Trophy legend Colin Mitchell of Carrick Knowe is on the wrong end of the 2015 headlines with the five times winner of the coveted Edinburgh & Leith Champion of Champions showcase event biting the dust in Monday nights second round action.
Dark Horse challenger Martin Lewis of Brunstane was the headline maker with a strong performance to capture the Mitchell scalp with a 21-15 win in 23-ends at Sighthill. Mitchell found he had a game on his hands when failing to make any space over the first 15-ends but he did break the 11-11 deadlock with counts of 2 and 1 that saw him skip over the graveyard trap to 14 but Lewis answered that challenge with a 2, 2 reply to 15. Peels were called at 15 at which stage the experience of Mitchell was expected to kick in but the former Commonwealth Games cap – Melbourne 2006 – was left stunned by Lewis storming 20 21 with a 2, 2, 2, finish.
Tanfield champion Mal Higgenbottom is another former Tait champion (twice) in this years field and the former Scotland cap made no mistakes with a clinical performance to beat John Henderson of Colinton Mains, 21-11 in 19-ends at Bainfield. Higgenbotham charged into a 10-1 lead but found himself being tested at 11-11 before accelerating to 21 with a run of 1, 1, 3, 2, 1,1, 1.
Jim Hutchison – a former District Champion – carries the Goldenacre banner so had the benefit of familiar territory at Tanfield and put it to good use to set up a 10-5 lead over Kevin Prior of Beechwood. But the final outcome was in the melting pot at 13-13 before Hutchison produced a sizzling finish of 1, 1, 1, (1), 4, 1 to clinch a 21-14 victory in 23-ends.
Maitland champion Graeme McIntosh is no stranger to crossing winning lines and having raced into a 15-3 lead the former Edinburgh Open champion converted into a 21-8 victory over James Flockhart of Lutton Place at Hillside.
Corstorphine’s second time champion Bernie Callaghan raised the pulse rates with a purple patch run of 1, 2, 4, 2 that accelerated him from 8-8 to 17-8 but had sweat on his brow at 19-18 , and game against before hitting 21 with a heroic 1, 1 finish against Colin Bell of Hillside at Goldenacre.
Mark Hewitt of Whitehouse & Grange picked up from 12-15 to beat Billy Sandilands of Postal with a big 2, 1, 3, 1, 2 finish at Dudley while George Kyle of LRF crushed John Ramsay of Slateford, 21-5, at Northern. Neil Watson of Parkside walked over.
Colinton booked their place in the final of The Edinburgh Top Ten Championship with a 6-2 win over Hillside in their semi final clash at Balerno; but two of the three wins were nail-biting affairs in a clash that went right down to the wire. David Fisher proved himself once again to be an effective spearhead figure for Colinton with the recent E&L captain producing a strong battling performance to win his Singles confrontation with Hillsides former EBL champion Colin Hairs. Fisher carded a double to lead 13-10 but was crossed 15-13 before escaping from the graveyard with a super-charged run of 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, (1), 1, 1 to clinch a 21-16 victory in 24-ends.
Colinton then looked home and dry in the Pairs with Brian Davies and Cammy Cairns leading 17-9 but they just survived 4, 2, 1 wobble to register a 17-16 win over Malky Thom and Gary Muir. It was also a close call for Colinton in the Triples with their trio of Halley Cockburn, Greg Smith, and Ross Byers crossing from 8-12 to 14-12 then just holding on to score a 13-13 win over Brian Irving, Stevie McManus, and Colin Bell. Hillside edged the Fours with BJ Smith skipping his rink to a 13-11 win.