Today’s final of The Edinburgh Top Ten Championship pitches five times title winners Slateford against Colinton with the former enjoying home environment advantage due to the traditions of the sport in the capital city decreeing that the club of the Association President gets the honour of hosting such occasions.
It’s a tradition that was dumped some 40 years ago by near neighbours West Lothian who opted for a best venue scenario that put the best interest of the players ahead of officials however on this occasion Slateford meets the criteria of a good green and excellent facilities. The extra pressures due to high expectancy levels can on occasions work against the homers but Slateford are seasoned campaigners whose focus will be driven by an ambition to etch the club name on the coveted silverware for a sixth time.
Colinton are unlikely to be phased by a situation that is normal to them while from a support point of view the major point of interest is the clash of icon spearhead figures Robert Marshall and David Fisher in the Singles. Both teams make enforced changes with Scott Brunton coming in for Colin Gilchrist in the Slateford Four while in a similar scenario Brian McRae covers for Ewan Gibson in the Colinton Four.
Neil Speirs has captured the Championship Crown at Kirkliston for the first time with the 36 year old Gold Medal hero of the Commonwealth Games slipping from13-7 up to 17-16 down then answering the pressures with a 1, 3, 1 finish to beat Greg Logan 21-17 in a 22-end final. The immediate bonus for Speirs is to carry the Kirkliston banner into this weekend’s WLBA Champion of Champions event being played at Linlithgow BC. The field is 30 strong with the high profile champions on parade including, David Rodgers (Harrysmuir), Bryan Cooper (Bathgate), Peter Lynch (Whitburn), Greg Baldry (Newbridge), and David Lamb of Uphall Station. The final days play on Sunday features the quarterfinals at 11am, the semi finals at 1-30pm, and the final at 4pm.
Newbridge etched their name on the silverware of the White Knights sponsored WLBA Top Ten Championship with a strong and determined performance to beat Bathgate 6-2 in the final played at Queensferry.
Wins in the Singles, Pairs, and Triples delivered Newbridge their second Top Ten title having previously triumphed in 2001 and their bonus reward is representing the West Lothian banner in the 2016 Inter County Tournament.
Both teams in the final were bidding to raise their end of season spirits having each lost out in the last stage of major 2015 events; Newbridge losing to Linlithgow in the final of The Rosebery Cup, and Bathgate crushed by Kirkliston in The Top five Singles.
Thomas Mann landed the first blow for Newbridge with the Scotland Elite Squad member producing exciting conversions to lead 12-11 in the Singles then finishing the stronger to beat Bathgate champion Bryan Cooper, 21-13 in 24-ends. Newbridge dominated the scoring in the Pairs where Drew Paterson and James Speirs were worthy winners but the 26-6 scoreline was an injustice in scale for Diz Drysdale and Cameron Greer. A closer fought battle in the Triples saw Andrew Semple, Paul Sweeney, and Blair Mackie edge a 10-8 win over Paul Lynas, David McCormick, and Alan McCormick. Bathgate made their only winning impression in the Fours with their rink of Matt Thomson, Rab Hilson, Brian Saunders, and Stuart Johnston conjuring up a magic 4, 1 finish to pip Jamie Aitken, Ian Robertson, Greg Baldry, and Alec Allan, 14-13.