Edinburgh & Leith’s defeat in their opening match of the Scottish Cities and Counties Championship, for the coveted Hamilton Trophy, was a menacing setback; but the bowls stars of the capital city have bounced back with an excellent away win over Borders at Earlston.Read More
Winning performances on four of the six rinks propelled E&L to a sizeable 23 shot victory with the positive contributions made by skips, John McDermott, Mal Higgenbotham, Paul O’Donnell, and Paul Veitch. The rinks skipped by James Hogg and Darren Hush did suffer setbacks however the master scoreboard always showed E&L holding the upper hand from the second end onwards, and reaching a 29 shot peak entering the 15th.
There had been pre-match tensions and apprehensions in the E&L camp as their 24 man team had been significantly depleted by the absence of seven star figures in the shape of Robert Marshall, Jamie Gracie, Alex Hurry, Neil Watson, Gordon Wilson Jnr, Andy McNab, and Euan Craig. “The Scottish Cup Final at Hampden had everything to do with players being unavailable to play bowls; but we took a lenient view by accepting the potential of history being in the making after a gap of 114 years”, said an official of E&L.
Borders failed to plant any seeds of doubt in their opposition’s ranks with E&L making the early running and able to establish a 21 shot supremacy (50-29) by the close of the first seven-end phase. Two major strides had been taken with an 11-3 count on the fifth end and a 10-2 on the seventh helping accelerate the E&L lead from a vulnerable four into the comfort zone of the 20’s. E&L were unable to go on the rampage but did enough to capture the second phase, 41-33, before a weaker third phase cost them a non- threatening 38-32 setback. “There was the danger of us suffering a late wobble as our lead was down to just 12 with two ends to play across the green but our grimaces turned to smiles as our guys answered the menace with an 8-2, 8-3, finish”.
McDermott didn’t score at a high rate but won 15 of the 21 ends as he skipped Josh Spalding, John Priestley, and Robert Donaldson to a 21-9 win over Stuart Bebington. Higgenbotham stretched from 7-5 to 18-7 and skipped Liam McKay, Gordon Bold, and Andy Caldwell to a 21-11 win over Alistair White while O’Donnell came from 10-13 to beat Graham Forsyth, 22-16. Hush, you would have to say, blew it in a 22-21 defeat from 18-6 up against Stuart White while Hogg slipped from 9-4 up to a 25-17 defeat from Kenny Johnstone. Paul Veitch though finished 1, 3, 3 to beat Ralph Nichol, 21-17.