Heartbreak Hotel is full of Midlothian players, and their support, all devastated at being agonisingly fluked out of the capture of the coveted Hamilton Trophy – the Holy Grail of The Cities and Counties Championship.
Lanarkshire South were the destroyers of Midlothian dreams in the final played at Crieff BC, and the multiple winners of the Hamilton Trophy are a great team – boisterous, super confident, exceptionally skilful – and they added to their legend with a single shot victory (113-112) that was both dramatic and traumatic
Wins delivered by the rinks skipped by David Peacock, Colin Bonner, and Colin Walker contributed a plus of 16; but the loss of a combined total of 17 was the result of – single figure- defeats inflicted on Scott Briggs, Danny McDougall, and Graeme Archer.
The phase outcomes of a final played in wet, dreich conditions show Midlothian slow out of the blocks and suffering a sizeable 45-28 setback over the first seven ends; but they bounced back to edge the second, 42-37, then win the third, 42-31. However that 11 shot plus on the final phase had been diminished from a 22 shot supremacy over ends 15, 16, 17,18, and 19. Having hit the front in brilliant fashion the slippage proved to be damaging and costly.
End 14 was also a game-changing highlight and one that could well have knocked the stuffing, (but didn’t) out of Midlothian as having boldly fought back into the frame at 66-69 they promptly conceded 13-4 to fall 12 shots behind.
Midlothian arrived at Crieff as the only undefeated team of the entire campaign, fired up by a magnificent nine wins out of nine to reach the final and straining at the leash to enter the history books as the 2017 Hamilton Trophy Champions –enhanced by a proud 10 out of 10 wins. It almost happened with Midlothian making a spirited fight back from early setbacks to hit the front then enter the final furling holding a 10 shot lead (108-98) that with the winning post in sharp focus would surely see them cross the line as Champions. But Lanarkshire South have the ‘Never Say Die’ attitude and it was stoked up to menacing heights by an 8-1 fight back on end 20 – the master scoreboard now showing a much reduced three shot lead in favour of Midlothian (109-106).
Midlothian’s world collapsed on the final end where the record will show a 7-3 loss robbed them of their Tunes of Glory title celebrations – but that masks the real pains of a tension filled climax. World stage star Iain McLean finished 4, 1, 2 against McDougall and the double peeled the match at 112-112 – swinging the spotlight onto the one rink left – Archer v John Simpson. Archers rink held shot – for the title – then Simpson’s last bowl was tight and looking harmless until it got a flick into the head – and be a contender for the winning shot.
Archer was timid with his last bowl, suggesting that Midlothian felt the shot was in their favour – but the umpire was called in and after seconds that seemed like hours the decision was made – One shot to Lanarkshire South– Well Done Lanarkshire South. Rink scores. D Peacock 21 Stuart Simpson 13; C Bonner 21 Robert Grant 16; C Walker 25 David Gardner 22; S Briggs 13 Stewart Anderson 14; D McDougall 17 Iain McLean 25; G Archer 15 John Simpson 23.
Day 2 of the Bowls Scotland National Championship at Ayr Northfield saw Gordon Ramsay of Slateford and Jim Robertson of Maitland serve up two winning performances each to reach opposite semi finals of the gents Seniors Singles. Ramsay caused a great stir on the banking with a runaway 21-0 win in a super quick 10 -end of his luckless second round opponent, Hugh MacDonald of Blacklandmill. In these circumstances the pressure was on Ramsay to go on and deliver a win in his 3rd round tie against so their were anxious concerns in the ranks of the Edinburgh support when Ramsay faced the exit door at 18-14 down to Sandy Lawrence of Bankfoot. Ramsay comes from a tough tournament (Balgreen) background in the capital city where strong mental toughness produces winners and that attribute came to the fore in the style of a grandstand finish run of 2, 3,2 that swept him to victory in 22-ends.
Robertson had a place in todays semi final action firmly in his grasp when adding 2, 4 to establish a substantial 19-10 lead over George Prosser of Lesmahagow; but he came under immense pressure at 20-19 before clinching the winning single on end 26. Earlier in the day Robertson had fuelled the expectations of his support with an awesome 21-14 victory in 13 ends over his second round opponent, David Farquharson of Westhill.
East Lothian hopes that Andy Burt of Haddingtonn would follow though on his thrilling 2-19 win over second round opponent Brian Neeson of Dumbarton ended in him making a 21-14 exit to Alister Gunn of Bearsden having been off the pace at 13-4 down.
Edinburgh challengers Helen Spence of Brunstane and Janet Heatlie of Lutton both made exits as play progress in the Ladies Seniors Singles . Spence produced a strong performance to beat Christine Docherty of Kirkcudbright, 21-9, in her second round, then put up a bold fight before going down, 21-17, in a 26 battle against 1999 champion Margaret Letham of Burnbank-Hamilton. Heatlie lost 21-7 to Angela Uttley of Glenmavis Bathgate and the multiple winner of the Edinburgh Open at Balgreen stepped up her challenge when converting a 15-6 lead over Seona Black of Larbert into a 21-17 victory.
Janet Fairnie of Castlepark finished 1, 2, (2), 2 to clinch a 21-19 win over third round opponent Helen McVicar of Upper Cowal.
Scott Mackintosh of LRF produced extra end heroics with a last bowl draw to skip his sister Gillian to a 13-12 win over Sandra Steven and Richard Mark of Uphall Station to reach todays semi finals of the Mixed Pairs. A great day for Macintosh clan saw Scotts son Craig deliver a 21-14 win over Gary Mitchell of Gilmerton then a 21-13 win over of Liam Nicholson of Gala Waverley to reach the semi finals of the gents Junior Singles.