Carrick Knowe have captured the Edinburgh & Leith Top Five Singles title for a record extending fifth time and did so at the 4-1 expense of three times champions Craigentinny in the final played at Mayfield.
The latest Carrick Knowe triumph was a particularly memorable one for Darren Hush as his name is now etched on The Ian McFarlane Trophy on all five occasions starting with the inaugural success achieved in 2000. Colin Mitchell and Richard Tough also played in the first ever final of the event introduced by the E&L to celebrate the Millennium at which stage James Hogg and Paul O’Donnell of the 2015 line up were members of other clubs. Wins for Tough, Hush, Mitchell, and Hogg triggered the latest title celebrations in a final that saw Gordon Bold register Craigentinny’s sole success at the expense of O’Donnell.
“We felt we had let the banner down when making an early exit in The Top Ten but bouncing back to win The Top Five by beating first class opposition in the shape of Craigentinny is the perfect response and restores the feel good factor to Carrick Knowe” said Hush. Hush – seen in the Pic holding The Trophy – made his contribution a telling one with the match score standing at one-a-piece- before he tipped the scales in the direction of Carrick Knowe with a 21-14 win over past national junior singles champion Andrew Caldwell. Ding-dong exchanges in the first half of the tie saw Hush nosing a 10-9 lead after 11-ends then a purple patch spell that yielded counts of 3, 2, 2, 1 accelerated him into a firm driving seat position of 18-9, and five ends later it was all over for Caldwell.
First blood in the final had gone to Carrick Knowe through Tough throwing down the challenge in aggressive fashion as he powered to a 21-14 win over Daniel Gormley in 18-ends having stunned all of the watching banking with a blitz 4, 2 finish. Bold brought Craigentinny back into the picture with a commanding 21-10 win over O’Donnell in 19-ends having thrilled his support when breaking from 6-7 to 19-7 with an explosive run of 4, 2, 2, 1, 4. It was a fitting climax that icon figure Colin Mitchell wielded the axe that gave Craigentinny the chop with the former Scotland captain bagging win number three at the 21-19 expense of Kevin Hunter in a 20-end thriller. Mitchell had made a spectacular start to lead 19-5 after 11-ends but came under immense pressure as Hunter peeled at 19 with an amazing 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 2, 1, 4 fight back however after that eight end nightmare he ended the menace with a double to 21. Hogg led Josh Spalding 9-0 and 13-5 and remained in total command to win 21-11 in 20-ends.
Tait Trophy drama this week saw 22-year old aspiring star Neil Watson of Parkside make a semi final exit at the hands of Maitland champion Graeme McIntosh who way back in 1992 won the Edinburgh Open title at Balgreen. Watson, a member of the E&L team that won the Hamilton Trophy in 2013, a junior cap, and 2010 Fleming Trophy champion, is one of todays leading players in the capital city and therefore a much fancied contender to get his name etched on the coveted Champion of Champions silverware of the E&L Bowling Association.
McIntosh is old school but still making giant waves like skipping former club Tanfield to the Scottish Triples title in 2010 and his present club to the national finals stage at Ayr Northfield a few weeks ago, signalling that the competitive instinct is as strong as ever. The early exchanges in the Tait semi final at Wardie were tit for tat with Watson adding 2, 1 to cross 11-10 after 11-ends then at 13-11 down and faced with four shots against the Parkside champion produced a brilliant last bowl killer for a single to 12.
McIntosh didn’t dwell in the bowlers graveyard overlong and escaped with a run of 1,1, 2 to cross 17-15 then responded to real danger at 20-19 with a single on end 23 that ended the Tait dream of his young opponent. The other semi final featured twice Tait champion Mal Higgenbotham of Tanfield and 57 year old first time London Road Foundry king pin George Kyle who made an encouraging start to lead 5-1 after four ends.
Higgenbotham found the higher gear he was trying to engage with a 3 and followed on with counts of 3, 1, 1, (3), 2, 2 to establish a 13-8 supremacy; but five ends later faced a 16-15 deficit that prompted a winning 3, 1, 1, 1 response to 21. The final of the 2015 Tait is on Friday night at Mayfield.