Teenager Liam McKay made a successful defence of The Fleming Trophy in Thursday nights finals of the Edinburgh & Leith Championships with the 18 year old Tanfield star putting a strong performance to beat Neil Watson of Parkside, 21-6 in 19-ends.
McKay’s two in a row success in the Under 25 Singles emulates the double triumph achieved by Jamie Gracie – then of Sighthill – in 2005 and 2006 and it confirmed his supremacy over Watson as they also clashed in the 2014 final. The form line is an excellent one for McKay as Watson won the Fleming in 2010, is a regular in the E&L Hamilton Trophy Team, and is a player of current junior cap status. “It’s a good feeling to emerge the winner of an open (to E&L) entry championship like the Fleming and these finals are normally close run affairs however I was in top form and things went my way”, said McKay.
McKay – a fitness and health student at a city college – made the first substantial break of the final with a run of 1, 1, 2, 1, 3, 1 that accelerated him into a 12-4 lead then with Watson still at his mercy he later carded a significant 3 to stand in sight of the title at 17-5. Watson was struggling with a consistency to build good heads and only managed to add a single to 6 before McKay hit 21 with a 1, 2, 1 finish.
Carrick Knowe captured the honours in the Pairs final but an epic encounter against Leith went to a dramatic extra-end decider before John Ramsay and Paul O’Donnell raised the victory salute with a 17-16 win over Michael McBrierty and Gavin Ramsay. The lead changed hands several times in a ding-dong battle early doors but the pendulum swung in favour of Leith with a run of 1, 4, 1 that gave them a15-13 ascendancy with three ends to play.
Carrick Knowe stayed alive with a double to peels then Leith carded a single that was matched by the opposition to force a sizzling extra-end tiebreak and it was the Ramsay/O’Donnell partnership that emerged smiling from the melting pot.
The Sighthill name was etched on the Triples Trophy but it was hard earned with Graeme Eddington skipping Les Ronaldson and Adam Melrose to a 16-12 win over Ian Pilley, Steven Pilley, and Stuart Clark of Bainfield. A tense and dramatic climax was in the offing when Bainfield hit back from being 5 shots adrift with a run of 1, 3, 1 to stand peels at 11-11 with two to play but Sighthill conjured up a mighty count of 5 on the penultimate end and captured the title glory.
London Road Foundry dominated the final of the Fours with the rink of Ian Inkster, David Ford, George Kyle, and David Kyle holding all the aces in an 18-11 win over Euan Gibson, Phil Watson, Greg smith, and David Fisher of Colinton. Kyle and Co added a 4 on end 11 to lead 11-6 then answered the loss of two singles with a mighty count of 5 to have Colinton in their 16-8 grip with three ends to play.
The Mixed Rink is a recently added feature to The Championships and the second winners are Currie with Susan Telford, Joan Ballantyne, Stewart Inglis, and John Muir just proving too hot for Bainfield. Muir and Co streaked into a 10-0 lead over Susan Allen, Anna Anderson, John Douglas, and Adam Brock of Bainfield then held on from 16-8 to win 16-13.
Andy Dunnett’s two title wins in the West Lothian Masters highlight’s him as a singles player of distinction and now the 41-year old Queensferry ace has turned up trumps in the District Final of the Scottish Championships. But Dunnett’s joy in the Singles final at Pumpherston came at the 21-20 despair of Kirkliston’s Grant Logan a record four times WL Master, twice WLBA Champion of Champions, and Scotland cap. Logan (39) came close to but refused to be destroyed by his nightmare collapse from 16-0 up to lose the 2013 District final 21-20 to dark horse Stuart Sneddon of Armadale, but hoped for a better outcome in 2015.
The final against Dunnett was a 23-end cracker of epic proportions with early highlights including the Queensferry champion carding a 4 to cross 10-6 then Logan carding a 4 to cross 15-12. Peels were called at 17 then Dunnett added 1, 2 to 20 at which stage Logan answered that menace with a brilliant 3 to set up a knife-edged climax – but everyone and their granny as the saying goes thought the Kirkliston champ was going to draw a fourth for his passage to Ayr Northfield. These District final are now under the control of Frazer Muirhead the national singles champion of 1981 and he had this to say,
“Grant’s fourth bowl like his previous three was inch perfect to be a match winner on its way but it was a cruel outcome that at the last moment it took dip on a hand that doesn’t dip and the slightest of clips on Andy’s nearest bowl tipped it far enough out to not count”. Dunnett booked his passage to the national finals as he edged the winning single on end 23 – leaving Logan to cope with yet another nightmare memory.
The other results were; Junior Singles: Jordan Pearce (Kirkliston) 21 Greg Baldry (Newnridge) 16; Pairs : Bathgate (Dizzy Drysdale and Brian Cooper) 23 Queensferry (Neil and Gary Grant) 8; Triples: Glenmavis (Craig Sinclair, David Ross, Walter McDougall) 17 Newbridge (Stuart Affleck, James Speirs, Blair Mackie) 10; Fours: Linlithgow (Andrew Grimshaw, Mark Graham, Davy Alexander, Gary Smith) 23 Queensferry (Brian Walker, Mike Reid, David Guild, Jim McCallum) 7.
Todays (Sat) Hamilton Trophy games features E&L v West Lothian at Northern; and Midlothian v East Lothian at Gorebridge.