The prospect of celebrating an end of season high ended in anti climax disappointment for two top clubs in The Evening News area with Carrick Knowe and Linlithgow failing to capture the title glory in the Edinburgh & Leith organised Andrew D McKellar Inter County Top Five Singles played off at Sighthill.
The major honour departed the capital city in the clutches of Dumfriesshire with their champion club Dumfries defeating Thornton of Fife County in the semi finals and Carrick Knowe in the final. The final days play had started encouragingly well for Carrick Knowe with the Edinburgh champions expecting a tough challenge from Linlithgow but dominating their semi final clash to win it 3-0.
The Carrick Knowe wins were delivered by Richard Tough, Graham Pringle, and James Hogg with Colin Mitchell and Darren Hush not required to finish. “We were well pleased with the style of our win over the West Lothian Champions but in a search for reasons losing out in the final it may be that we felt over confident in our head to heads with Dumfries” reflected Mitchell.
Linlithgow’s 150th Anniversary Cake is very well iced but another lair would have been welcomed however the handicap of the WL champions going into battle without internationalist Gary Smith and County cap Gary Orr proved too big a mountain to climb. Tough was the first to make life difficult for them exploded into an 8-0 lead with counts of 4, 1, 3 then rocketing to 20-4 before finally taking the 21-11 scalp of Stevie Fleming in 17-ends.
Pringle found his task more challenging having trailed 7-2 before finding better line and length to cross 12-8 then back under pressure at 15-12 down he stormed to a 21-16 win with a whirlwind finish of 1, 3, (1), 2, 2 against Scott Murphy. Hogg found himself under even heavier early pressure in the shape of a 10-1 deficit after seven ends but pulled his socks up to square at 13-13 then pushed on strongly to wrap up a 21-16 win in 23-ends against David Alexander. At which stage Mitchell led 17-16 and Hush trailed 16-18.
The final started badly for Carrick Knowe and the first to suffer a setback was Scotland cap James Hogg who was very much in touch at 9-9 but but only managed two singles as he collapsed to a 21-11 defeat in 18-ends against fellow cap Martin Rice. Pringle was next to fall also as the result of weak finish having collapsed to a 21-12 defeat in 20-ends from 8-9 down to A Jess meanwhile there was a chance for Darren Hush to arrest the Carrick Knowe slide. Hush slipped from 9-9 to 9-16 then raised hopes with a sterling fight back to 18-19 but conceded a double on end 23 to suffer a 21-18 defeat form W Rice. The dream of national Top Five glory for Carrick Knowe was all over at which stage Tough led 17-12 and Mitchell was in close proximity at 16-18
“Dumfries were worthy champions but we were crying into our beer when we got back to Carrick Knowe as we knew we had underperformed in the final and none of us could put our fingers on why” said Mitchell. “We had come into the final on a high and may have entertained the thought of job done but we did respect Dumfries however may have been guilty of underestimating them” he added.