Edinburgh & Leith’s campaign aim in the East section of the Cities and Counties Championship is to finish in one of the top two qualifying places and the elite bowlers of the capital city made an encouraging start with victory over Stirling East at Carrick Knowe.
Wins on five rinks and a narrow defeat on the sixth made it a pleasing performance in depth for team manager Willie Watson and the 49 shots banked from a 140-91 victory is the perfect boost to morale going into this weekend’s match against Fife County at Thornton. Victory on home soil was an expected formbook one for the national champions of 2013 as E&L are a stronger team in depth than Stirling East however Watson and his 2015 team were aware they had to turn around last seasons shock 25 shot defeat away.
James Hogg inspired the E&L charge to victory at Carrick Knowe with support coming from the rinks skipped by Robert Marshall, Paul O’Donnell, Mal Higgenbotham, and Willie McDonald. Paul Veitch lost by a few shots. End six was of early significance in E&L’s battle for supremacy with the home support cheering a 10-1 count across the green that accelerated their teams margin of lead from 9 to 18 (39- 21) and just two ends later there was more to rouse the banking. End eight started with E&L dominating proceedings with a healthy 23 shot lead on the major scoreboard but that was transformed into a commanding grip of 33 as the capital stars rejoiced in celebration of a 12-2 return sparked by a 4 form Higgenbotham. With the fuse now well and truly lit E&L created a further explosion on end nine blasting the opposition with an 11-1 score that meant they had rocketed from 9 up (29-20) to 43 up (73-30) in the space of four ends.
The phase scoring depicts an E&L team hitting the ground running to dominate the first, 50-27, and the second, 50-32, then stalling a little on the third but still managing to win it, 40-32. Hogg made his major impact on the match from end 12 onwards skipping Josh Spalding, Robert Donaldson, and Darren Hush from 15-9 to a spectacular 38-12 victory having carded 4, 2, 5, 4 2, (1), 1, 1, 4, (2) to devastate Gary Crosbie. Marshall is the perfect figure to enthuse E&L support so his opening blitz of 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 1 to lead 15-0 after eight ends was inspiring theatre and the legend went on to skip Euan Craig, Gavin Smith, and Jamie Gracie to a 23-12 win over Stuart Williamson.
O’Donnell punished his opposition heavily on ends six to nine with a thunder and lightening run of 2, 5, 3, 3, to lead 15-3 then went on to skip Steven Pilley, George Kirk, and Neil Watson to a 22-12 win over Stuart Hogg. Higgenbotham finished 3, 3, (3), 2 from 15-15 to win a 23-18 battle with D Couper while McDonald finished 1, 3, 1 (1), from 11-14 to pip C Ross, 16-15. Veitch slipped from 15-10 up to a 22-18 defeat from the always hard to beat Simon Thomson.