Tonight’s final of The Tait Trophy at Mayfield BC features an interesting clash between two former club mates with former Tanfield star Graeme McIntosh bidding for the Edinburgh & Leith Champion of Champions title against 45 year old Mal Higgenbotham.
McIntosh has just added to his two championship wins at Tanfield by capturing the club crown at Maitland as a 58 year old while his record as a Single’s player includes the Edinburgh Open title at Balgreen in 1992. Higgenbotham is a seven times champion at Tanfield and his focus is on winning the Tait for a third time having triumphed in 2005 and 2007 his first being the last at his clubs ancestral home in Arboretum Avenue and his last being the first at the new location in Arboretum Place.
Meanwhile on the ladies championship scene in the Capital City there is news of a triumphant Sisters Act with Sandra Slater defeating Irene Ferguson in the final at Colinton, and Alison Ross delivering a 21-11 win over Doris Bradford at Bainfield. The sisters are daughters of the late Willie Thorburn who won the 1961 Tait Trophy under the Colinton banner while their late mum Cathy included in her CV the Edinburgh Open title at Balgreen in 1995.
The climax to Division 3 of The Alpha Trophies sponsored Edinburgh Bowling League saw leaders Dudley confirm their supremacy with a 6-3 away win over chief rivals Brunstane.
Corstorphine finished in third place just 4 points adrift of Brunstane following their 7-2 away win over Blackhall.
The Top Four were, Dudley (86); Brunstane (77); Corstorphine (73); Whitehouse & Grange (58).
Kirkliston have enhanced their reputation as West Lothian’s Top Five Singles experts by winning the WLBA title for a record extending 13th time the first of which was being crowned the inaugural champions in 1977. Expectations that the 2015 final against Bathgate at Broxburn would develop into a battle royal failed to materialise with Kirkliston romping to a 4-1 victory over the four times champions who were severely handicapped by two early setbacks.
Kirkliston’s strength in depth was illustrated by the absence of 1998 national champion Raymond Logan being covered by the call up of 1988 Scottish champion John Aitken with both 60 year old olds still top performers.
It was no surprise then that Aitken – recently crowned the WL Master for a record equalling fourth time- turned out to be a super-sub with an astonishing performance that got ‘The Cheeesetown Boys’ off the mark with a 21-4 victory in 14-ends.
Aitkens’s head to head against Rab Hilson was a clash between former WLBA Champion of Champions; but was always one sided with the former Commonwealth Games internationalist making good headway to 10-4 then storming to 21 with a run of 4, 1, 2 ,1, 2, 1.
Mark Allison was next to deliver a body blow that softened up the Bathgate challenge having set up a 9-4 lead that he converted into a 21-7 win over fellow Hamilton Trophy colleague Stuart Johnston in 18-ends. The headline win that clinched the title fell to the international experienced Steven Forrest who marked his own 36th birthday celebration with a 21-20 victory that was sensational in style having been out with the washing at 20-10 down to Bathgate champion Bryan Cooper. “Try and stay on the green as long as you can” was the whispered advice from team captain Grant Logan. What followed next was an astonishing escape to victory with The Birthday Boy storming to 21 with a whirlwind run of 3, 2, 3, 3. Meanwhile, Neil Speirs was holding a winning position at 16-11 up on Brian Saunders while Bathgate had hopes of a consolation win with Alan McCormick leading Logan, 18-12.
A new name is set to appear on the championship honours board at Kirkliston with 36 year olds Greg Logan and Neil Speirs making it through to the final with wins over John Aitken (21-14) and Jordan Pearce (21-12) in their respective semi finals.