Postal champion Christian Berra – father of former Hearts star Christophe – is bidding for national title glory in the Singles and scored a spectacular last gasp win over Jamie Gunn of Brunstane to reach the District 14 finals of the Scottish Bowling Championships.
Tuesday night’s semi finals action at Queensberry BC saw the Postal challenger being well licked over the opening eight ends to stand 11-0 down and Gunn continued to fire with leads of 15-5, 18-7, and 19-12 confirming his supremacy. Berra did keep his head up with counts of 1, 2 to 15; but was still locked in the jaws of defeat when Gunn added a single to 20 however the first class delivery of a 4, 2 finish saw the Postal champ escape to a sensational 21-20 victory in 25-ends. The road to the national-finals stage at Ayr Northfield is a hard one to travel however and the hurdle that looms up next for Berra proves the points as it comes in the shape of current two-in-a row Tait Trophy champion Scott Mackintosh of London Road Foundry. Mackintosh – national finalist in 2009 – almost came a cropper in his semi final but in another 21-20 thriller managed to conjure up a magic double on the 23rd-end to win an epic head to head battle with Craig Duffus of Willowbrae.
A close call hadn’t looked in the offing when the vastly experienced Macintosh blazed into a 9-1 lead, that pace wasn’t sustained but the LRF icon figure still looked comfortably in the driving seat at 13-6, then 16-9. Duffus thrilled the banking with a run of 1, 2, 3 that brought him bang into the picture at 15-16 then answered the loss of a single with a magic count of 3 that hey presto thrust him into an 18-17 lead. Mackintosh answered that pressure with a double to 19 but Duffus replied with successive singles to 20 before his LRF opponent clinched victory – but only after a tense wait on an umpire’s measure that went in his favour. The watching members of clan Mackintosh – and their supporters – were left with fingers down to the knuckles as 14 year old Craig emulated his father with a 21-20 win in the Junior Singles over 2011 national finalist Josh Spalding of Craigentinny. Mackintosh settled any nerves with a full-house count of 4 on the opening end then led 7-2 before coming under testing pressure as Spalding closed to 10-10 but responded with a 2 and a 3 to make good space to 15.
The battle for supremacy still had o be won however and the outcome was in the melting pot at 18-18 then a sizzling double moved the young teenager to 20 however he had passed up a golden opportunity make it a 3 for 21. Spalding accepted his lifeline with a double to 20 but the junior cap bit the dust to a single for Mackintosh on end 24.
The other semi also produced a cracking encounter with Liam Mackay of Tanfield making a strong recovery from 2-9 to cross 13-11 then battle on to score a 21-17 victory over Jamie Reid of Northern.
Hillside carded a mighty 5 on the second last end of The Fours enabling Colin Bell to skip John Simpson, Alan Tough, and BJ Smith to a 15-13 win over Charlie McLaren, Graeme Swan, Andy McNab, and Robert White of Tanfield.
Maitland added a 3 at the third last to lead 15-9 then Peter Morris, Ross Barclay, Alan Sharp, and Alan Flockhart held on to win 15-12 against Laurence Robertson, Jim Hutchison, Paul McLaren, and Colin Hutchison of Goldenacre.
Alex Hurry came up with the answers under testing pressure from Carrick Knowe ace Darren Hush in the Singles play of the District 15 Scottish championships at Colinton and the 37 year old Parkside champion turned up trumps to win 21-12 in 22-ends. Hurry led 13-11 after 16 hard fought ends then making vital space to 16 with telling 2, 1 counts the 2004 national semi-finalist went on to press home his advantage with a finishing run of 2, 2, 1.
The other semi – played at Corstorphine – brought roars of delight from a West End support cheering the sight of the club’s 150th Anniversary champion Keith Gellaitry producing a spectacular finishing run of 1, 4, 2 to clinch a 21-14 victory over Gorgie Mills king pin Colin Hay.
Gorgie Mills did leave the venue on one happy note with Junior Singles challenger Robert Ewing producing a top-notch display in his runaway 21-5 win over Steven Rennie of Parkside in 14-ends.
Stephen Pringle of Carrick Knowe was the dominant figure in the other semi final – played at Colinton – and having blazed a 14-3 trail against John Henderson of Colinton Mains controlled a mini come-back to win 21-11 in 17-ends.
Colinton proved a happy hunting ground for Gorgie Mills in the Pairs and Triples with the partnership of Dean Thomson and Davy Greig converting a 10-6 lead into a 15-9 win over Ian Laing and Ron Fenton of Braid.
While Scott Purvis, Archie Priestley, and Kevin Jamieson in the Triples finished 4, 2, 1, 1 to beat Ardmillan, 18-9.
The Carrick Knowe duo of Graham Pringle and James Hogg converted a 10-5 lead into a 19-7 win over Currie at Corstorphine while the Mayfield trio of Liam Randall, Dale Randall, and Ross Thomson finished 3, 1 to beat Balerno, 15-12.
Craig Paterson skipped Bainfield to a 3, 3, finish and 21-13 win over Corstorphine in the Fours while Stuart Isbister skipped Sighthill to a 19-15 win over Carrick Knowe.