Few would argue that Slateford ace Robert Marshall tops the Most Consistent Best Bowler in Edinburgh List if judged over the past 30 years and his legion of admirers in the Capital City are awaiting to applaud him reaching the landmark target of 20 club championship wins.
Colin Mitchell of Carrick Knowe does have legitimate claims and the likes of Graeme Archer and Big Rab’s younger brother Tattie had they stayed the course in Edinburgh circles, and of course the illustrious Richard Corsie.
Marshall the elder is both a crowd puller and pleaser due to a combination of artistic skills and pleasant and modest personality, and sets such high standards that he can be severely self critical if he feels he is underperforming.
Sunday at Slateford presented the now 51 year old RM with his latest opportunity to turn up trumps in the final of the club championship for an awesome 20th time but for the second final in succession that magic figure alludes him. Last years defeat from his good friend Gordon Ramsay was followed by a challenge from another 1st Sixteens bowler in the shape of John Ramsay – no relation – and the early flow was in Marshall’s favour with leads of 7-0 and 13-9 putting his opponent under pressure. But 13 is known as The Boolers Graveyard and even Robert Marshall isn’t protected from that superstition as evidenced by a six end stay that saw Ramsay hurdle that figure with a purple patch run of 1, 1, 1, 2 2, 1 to accelerate him into a 17-13 lead. Marshall escaped from the graveyard with a double to 15 but Ramsay had the scent of a first title triumph and found the necessary killer instinct to produce a 2, (1,1), 2 finish to win 21-17 in 22-ends. “You can’t win them all and I will just have to try again next year but Slateford is a competitive club and there are no easy paths towards title success” summed up Marshall. Marshall won the first of his 19 titles at Slateford back in 1980, he is a five times champion of The Tait Trophy, has played in 15 international series, and in 1986 skipped Ronnie Ramsay, RK Wood, and Andrew Ramsay to the Scottish then British Isles Fours titles.
John Ramsay’s first reward is to represent Slateford in the Tait Trophy and Monday nights prelim round play saw him him march forward with a bye against Braid and tonights first round proper pitches him against the champion of Mayfield.
The London Road Foundry banner has won the last two Taits with Scott Macintosh their hero figure on both occasions but the 2015 challenge lies in the hands of George Kyle who launched his campaign with a 21-14 win over Bob Linton of Dean at Leith.
Other results included Mark Hewitt of Whitehouse & Grange defeating his Liberton rival, 21-17 from 13-13; Adam Davidson of Leith beat Colin Anderson of Currie 21-4, while Ian Paterson of Willowbrae waked over against Ardmillan.
The first round action in The Scotmid sponsored West Lothian Masters saw one of the top 16 seeds fall in the shape 18 year old Connor McKendrick of Middleton Hall, the No 15 stunned by a 15-2 deficit and losing 21-15 to K Taylor of Uphall Station.
The other seed results were,
No1 Brian Craig (Holder) 21 K Campbell (Mid Calder) 14; No2 Grant Logan 21 K Black (East Calder) 16; No3 Andy Dunnett 21 C Gullane (Broxburn) 8; No4 Gary Smith 21 J Aitken (Newbridge) 19; No5 John Aitken 21 D Duff (Seafield) 8; No6 Ewan Shearer 21 A Gray (Kirkliston) 13; No7 Cameron Greer 21 S Lamb (Bellsburn) 8; No8 Alec Allan 21 S Lambie (Whitburn) 17; No9 Walter McDougall 21 J Deegan (Harrysmuir) 10; No10 Stevie Fleming 21 C Black (East Calder) 15; No11 Bryan Cooper Scr; No12 Glen King 21 C Hamilton) (Queensferry) 17; No13 Richard Mark 21 F Barker (Oakbank) 12; No14 Ray Logan 21 A Paterson (Harrysmuir) 6; o16 Jordan Pearce W/O.
Parkside are firmly in the driving seat with a 6.5 points lead over second placed Queensberry and a further point ahead of defending two-in-a-row defending champions Craigentinny going into tonights penultimate fixtures in Division 1 of The Alpha Trophies sponsored Edinburgh Bowling League. “We need to find a strong killer instinct against Maitland tonight if we want to see off the challenge of the two clubs breathing down our necks as they play each other and the best outcome for us is that they damage either by sharing the spoils” said Parkside spokesman Robert Donaldson.
Parkside have Ian Fleming available after missing the previous three games but in a tough love decision have opted to ask the man who skipped their Seniors Four at Ayr Northfield last week to beef up their 2nd Sixteens challenge. “We are unchanged” stated Donaldson who is joined in the skip position by Paul Veitch, Neil Watson, and Derek Smith in a team that sees national singles challenger Alex Hurry continue at lead.
Maitland came up as a promoted team this season and having topped the table in the early weeks have settled back into commendable fourth place but given how high the stakes are have a tough task on away territory.
Craigentinny stumbled badly at home to Hillside in their previous fixture and that form makes them vulnerable to their Queensberry visitors who have great incentive to bury the record seven times champions.
Leith are at home to Northern and Summerside visit Hillside but even good results for either is unlikely to banish the relegations blues as they escape hatch looks well and truly closed on them.
Pilrig (59), Goldenacre (58), and Postal (57) are bidding to finish second to Tanfield (74) in Division 2. Pilrig visit relegation zoned Willowbrae; Goldenacre entertain sixth placed West End; Postal are away to foot of the table Mayfield.