Table- toppers Parkside’s colossal 9-0 away win over early pace-setters Maitland has thrown down the gauntlet to two-in-a-row defending champions Craigentinny in Division 1 of The Alpha Trophies sponsored Edinburgh Bowling League.
“Whilst there is extra pressure in leading from the front it is an encouraging position for us to be four points ahead of the chasing pack approaching the half-way stage” said Parkside spokesman Robert Donaldson. Maitland’s opening run of excellent form has deserted them and the consequence of two 9-0 defeats in a row is that they have plunged down the table to sit just above the relegation zone ahead of struggling sides Summerside and Leith.
Craigentinny – six games into the 14 match programme – are notoriously slow into their stride but are on the heels of the league leaders although they have lost ground despite the record seven-times champions celebrating a good away win at Queensberry.
Queensberry went all last season without losing at home so were disappointed to see that record ended by a 6-3 defeat albeit by the giants of the EBL however one consolation is that they still occupy the lofty position of third place.
Hillside are good scrappers always on the hunt for valuable away points so are delighted by a 6-3 victory over Summerside rivals who will see this as a bad result in terms of escaping the relegation zone.
Leith – last season’s Division 2 champions – continue to find life tough in the highest echelon of the EBL but did put up a fight in their 6-3 defeat at Northern.
The league positions are, Parkside 39; Craigentinny 35; Queensberry 29; Hillside 29; Northern 27; Maitland 26; Summerside 16; Leith 15.
The match at Maitland saw the home team come close to banking two points with Alan Flockhart skipping his rink from 14-9 down into a 15-14 lead playing the last but denied by the loss of a 3 to Steven Rennie, Dave Sherriffs, Danny Jackson, and Robert Donnaldson.
Parkside enjoyed more comfortable success on the rinks skipped by Paul Veitch, Derek Smith, and Neil Watson although it took a 4, 2, 1 finish for Watson to skip Craig Bryce, Dave McCourt, and Kenny Boyd to a 19-13 win over Brian Higgins. Veitch zipped into a 10-0 led en route to skipping Alan Hargan, Graham Fraser, and Brian Salvona to an 18-8 win over Alan Trotter while Derek Smith pulled away from 10-8 to skip Ewan Diven, Ian Fleming, and Willie Watson to a 20-13 win over Graeme McIntosh.
The away heroes for Craigentinny were Willie McDonald, Andy Caldwell and Andrew Jeffrey but it was a night to forget for their fellow skip Kevin McFarlane. McDonald carded a magnificent 7 to lead 10-1 then skipped David Torrance, Scott Duncan, and Daniel Gormley to a 21-10 win over Scott Walker. Caldwell stormed to a 20-15 win with a 3, 1, 5, 2 finish against John Kidd. Jeffrey led all the way to beat Frank O’Reilly, 14-10 but Queensberry banked 3 points from Brian Pollard skipping Jimmy McDougall, Ryan Gardner, and Mick Imrie Jnr to a whopping 25-3 win over McFarlane.
Hillside stole a point from 18-7 down when Colin Bell climaxed his fight-back with a mighty 5 at the last to finish 20-20 with David Poole while BJ Smith added a 22-13 win over Norrie Chalmers and Gary Muir beat Peter Miller, 17-12.
Summerside were relieved when Keith Taylor held on from 9-1 up to scramble a 13-12 win over Colin Hairs.
Northern had sweat on their brows with Ian Miller edging a 16-15 nail biter over Nicky Brown of Leith, and Jamie Reid escaping with a 17-17 peel against Drew Dodds. Gordon Wilson Jnr beat Gavin Ramsay 17-13; but a double at the last saw Craig Ramsay beat Jim Bathgate, 15-13.
East Lothian continue to ride high in the Cities and Counties Championship and with four wins out of five and just two to play the joint leaders –with Edinburgh & Leith – have a strong chance in claiming one of the two qualifying places from the highly competitive East section. ‘The Garden County’s’ latest win was a formbook 20 shot victory (128-108) over Fife County at West Barns with wins for the rinks skipped by Billy Mellors, Ian Bell, Scott Kennedy, and John McCrorie setting the heather on fire. There were setbacks for Derek Oliver and team captain Craig Valentine however they were in damage limitation territory of single figure nature so all things considered manager Ian Bell was left hailing a strong team performance. “A win for us was vital to keep us in the leading two and the team produced another spirited display in weather conditions that were demanding and needed strong focus”, said Bell. Mellors led the charge to victory in commanding style, wining 15 of the 21 ends as he skipped Ross Thomson, Jamie Gordon, and Stephen Cochrane to a spectacular 32-9 win over James Forbes. Bell himself was in fine form to skip John Geart, Brian Young, and Craig McLeod into a 9-1 lead then on to a 23-12 win over Alan Pearson while Kennedy battled to an 18-16 win over Gary Mackie, and McCrorie got up at the post to edge a 22-21 win over Calum Young.
Meanwhile the pre-season high expectations for a strong Midlothian challenge has failed to materialise but a better outcome and performance at Berwick saw team manager Drew Pearson happy to celebrate a 130-111 victory over Borders. “We got off to a good and it was a welcome improvement that we stayed strong under pressure and benefited from a more spirited attitude”, reflected the manager. Rink scores (Borders first): Robert Paterson 17 Colin Bonnar 31; Graeme Forsyth 17 Ramsay Blair 26; Robert Nichol 14 David Peacock 23; Stuart White 14 Colin Walker 19; Stuart Bebbington 24 Ronnie Duncan 17; Campbell McNeil 25 Colin McFarlane 14.