Craigentinny delivered a predictable 9-0 win at home to foot of the table Leith in Division 1 of The Alpha Trophies sponsored Edinburgh Bowling League and the two –in-a-row defending champions are now breathing down the necks of leaders Parkside.
Parkside saw their top of the table lead whittled down to a menacing 3˝ points having failed to make home advantage count to anywhere near the maximum in a 5-4 win over a stuffy Northern opposition With a clash of the top two on the immediate horizon the destination of the coveted title will be further influenced by that outcome and with five games to play third placed Queensberry could force themselves into the picture. Queensberry continue to impress and their 6˝-2˝ win at home to Hillside puts them within 5 points of Craigentinny whom they visit in a tough run in that finishes at home to Parkside.
Maitland can be pleased with their upward move from Division 2 having been exciting early leaders before dropping back however in relegation zone fears they sit comfortably in mid table after beating Summerside, 7-2. Summerside occupy the relegation zone some 5 points ahead of fellow strugglers Leith; but a concerning 9˝ adrift of sixth placed Hillside who in turn have 8˝ points to make up on fifth placed Northern. The table reads, after nine games played, Parkside 56, Craigentinny 52˝, Queensberry 47˝, Maitland 45˝, Northern 43, Hillside 34˝, Summerside 25, Leith 20.
Northern did real damage to the Parkside title cause carding 4 valuable away points with wins on the rinks skipped by Jim Bathgate and Gordon Wilson Jnr inflicting unexpected pain on home stars Robert Donaldson and Paul Veitch respectively. Bathgate carded a magnificent 7 on end six to skip Richard Newall, Alan Mitchell, and Larry Sorrell into a 12-3 lead then kept Donaldson in his slipstream to win 20-13. Wilson Jnr included a blitz run of 1, 1, 4, 2, 5 to skip Garry Harrison, Gordon Wilson Snr, and David Scott into a 14-2 lead and traded within that comfort zone to beat Veitch, 19-12. Neil Watson kept the Parkside heads up by whizzing into an 18-7 lead then skipping Craig Bryce, Davie Moran, and Andy Hargan to a bonus point influencing 29-11 win over Jamie Reid. Derek Smith added home win number two by skipping Steven Rennie, Kevin Boyd, and Willie Watson into a 9-1 lead then on to a 14-11 success over Ian Miller.
The Craigentinny reputation as being strong finishers in the EBL was enhanced by their skips, Andy Caldwell, Kevin McFarlane, Andy Jeffrey, and Willie McDonald delivering a clean sweep win over Leith. Their rink scores were, A Caldwell 23 Craig Ramsay 11; K McFarlane 20 Gavin Ramsay 10; W McDonald 17 Ian Ramsay 11; A Jeffrey 19 Drew Dodds 13.
Queensberry wins on the rinks skipped by Frank O’Reilly, Scott Walker, and John Kidd were all low margin affairs allowing Hillside to grab a share of the bonus point from Colin Bell’s win over Brian Pollard. The rink scores were, F O’Reilly 18 BJ Smith 15; S Walker 15 Colin Hairs 12; J Kidd 12 Gary Muir 12; B Pollard 8 Colin Bell 17.
Maitland kept Summerside trapped in the relegation zone with wins on the rinks skipped by Brian Higgins, Jim Robertson, and Alan Trotter; but the visitors made their presence felt with Paul Jeromson beating Graeme McIntosh. Rink scores- B Higgins 25 Peter Miller 11; J Robertson 19 Keith Taylor 12; A Trotter 20 David Poole 13; G McIntosh 15 Paul Jeromson 19.
Parkside etched their name on the Specsavers sponsored Edinburgh Cup in seasons 2005 and 2010 and remain hopeful the five year sequence will be maintained in 2015 however there is still much to do starting with tonight’s (Fri) quarterfinal against Queensberry.
Queensberry are yet to experience even reaching the final of The Edinburgh Cup but as a fellow EBL Division I club will be no pushovers for The Parksiders.
Bainfield’s debut in the Cup – having switched allegiance from the rival Water of Leith League- could be an exciting one as they have reached the Last Eight and will fancy their chances against Postal opposition with no Cup past.
Northern went close in the finals of 2009 and 2014 and that experience combined with their Division 1 status gives them a favourites chance against currently strong going Division 3 outfit, Brunstane.
Tanfield are three times cup winners and the current Division 2 leaders look nailed on to progress at the expense of relegation zoned Division 3 club, Dean; but there is a local derby flavour to the clash – so who knows.
Edinburgh & Leith entertain high expectations of reaching the semi finals stage of The Hamilton Trophy especially as the East section winners have – by the luck of the draw – home advantage at Bainfield against Renfrewshire West in tomorrows (Sat) quarterfinal match in The Cities and Counties Championship. Renfrewshire West finished runners up in the West section with five wins out of seven but in this latest head to head E&L should hold most of the aces. Andy Caldwell and Andy McNab miss the action so team manager Willie Watson brings back experienced campaigners Willie McDonald of Craigentinny and Steven Pilley of Bainfield. The slightly re-shaped E&L line up reads, Rink 1. Stephen Pringle, David Fisher ©, Neil Watson, and Paul Veitch. Rink 2. Kevin Tennant, Alan Trotter, John McDermott, and Paul O’Donnell. Rink 3. Euan Craig, Gavin Smith, Colin Hutchison, and Robert Marshall. Rink 4. Daniel Gormley, Gordon Bold, Robert Donaldson, and Mal Higgenbotham. Rink 5. Josh Spalding, Stuart Campbell, Darren Hush, and James Hogg. Rink 6. Steven Pilley, Brian Pollard, Willie McDonald, and Jamie Gracie.
West Lothian are also in quarterfinal action and make the journey to Kilwinning where they East section runners up face a Glasgow West team that finished top of the West section with an impressive six wins out of seven. Glasgow West’s only defeat was by a single shot so their confidence levels will by high while West Lothian with three defeats from seven needs a step up on that form. Team manager Jimmy Mallon had to deal with the absence of Stuart Johnston and Brian Craig and brought in Calum Logan (Kirkliston) and David Rodgers (Harrysmuir) to plug the gaps. The WL team reads, Rink 1. Ewan Shearer, Blair Mackie, Mark Allison, and Neil Speirs. Rink 2. Drew Paterson, Connor McKendrick, Calum Logan, and Grant Logan. Rink 3. Andrew Semple, James Speirs, John Aitken, and Thomas Mann. Rink 4. David Rodgers, Alec Allan, Andy Dunnett, and Steven Fleming. Rink 5. Steven Forrest, Walter McDougall, Gary Smith, and Raymond Logan. Rink 6. John Black, Jamie Aitken, Gary Orr, and Sandy McDougall.
The other title-contenders are, Highland v Lanarkshire South (holders) at Kinnoull;
Wigtownshire v Northern Counties at Cumnock.