Bold frontrunners Parkside continue to lead the race for the Division 1 title of The Alpha Trophies sponsored Edinburgh Bowling League; but the gap between them and two-in-a-row defending champions Craigentinny is fast diminishing.
Parkside have been unable in recent weeks to press home their advantage of a once sizable lead of 6˝ points and this weeks otherwise credible 5-4 away win over Hillside has allowed Craigentinny to reduce the gap to half-a-point. Craigentinny ramping up the pressure on the long time leaders with a thumping 9-0 away massacre of relegation zoned Summerside, and with three fixtures to go the ultimate destination of the title is excitingly in the melting pot.
Queensberry continues to enjoy a good season and confirmed there well earned lofty position of third place with an impressive 7-2 away win over fourth placed rivals Northern.
Maitland have had their spell of setting the heather on fire and the promoted club have done enough to secure their top league status but the early leaders have dipped of late and lost their latest match 7-2 away to Leith.
Leith’s win was a welcome one for last season’s Division 2 champions and they have leapfrogged Summerside at the foot of the table; but both are destined for the drop.
The table after 11 of the 14 games played reads,
Parkside 66; Craigentinny 65˝; Queensberry 59˝; Northern 52; Maitland 51˝; Hillside 45˝; Leith 29, Summerside 27.
Craigentinny’s late assault on the title they hold is not unexpected and the clean-sweep over Summerside was delivered in positive manner by skips Andrew Caldwell, Daniel Gormley, Andy Jeffrey, and Kevin McFarlane. Caldwell won 11 of the 17 ends and picked up from 5-3 down to skip Ian Duncan, Stuart Betts, and Davie Brown to a 19-8 win over Davie Poole. Gormley – a stand in skip for the absent Willie McDonald – was tested at 8-3 down after six ends but only dropped two more shots as he skipped David Torrance, Scott Duncan, and Scott Rogers to a 19-10 win over Norrie Chalmers. Jeffrey rattled on from 7-8 to skip Craig McCall, Josh Spalding, and Gordon Bold to a 19-11 win over Keith Taylor while McFaralne and his rink of Kevin Hunter, Malky Milne, Gary Nisbet led 16-9 and beat Peter Miller, 17-12.
Parkside dropped points to the Hillside rinks skipped by Colin Hairs and Gary Muir but wins for Neil Watson and Paul Veitch also earned the bonus point. Watson took no prisoners for the visitors as the young skip and his front-three of Steven Rennie, Davie Moran, and Andy Hargan raced into a 12-0 lead and blitzed Colin Bell, 23-8. Veitch came under pressure at 15-13 up playing the last but carded a 4 to skip Graham Fraser, Ewan Diven, and Brian Salvona to a 19-13 win over BJ Smith. Hairs dealt a 25-15 blow to Parkside’s icon figure Robert Donaldson while Muir damaged the title cause of the visitors with a 16-15 win over Derek Smith.
Scores at Northern- G Wilson Jnr 12 F O’Reilly 13; J Reid 4 J Kidd 24; J Bathgate 14 S Walker 24; A Reid 18 B Pollard 10.
At Leith – N Brown 22 G McIntosh 17; G Ramsay 22 J Robertson 10; D Dodds 16 A Trotter 13; C Ramsay 17 B Higgins 19.
Calum Logan – the holder and 2010 champion – was a high profile loser in the second round play of The Jack High Insurance sponsored WLBA Junior Open for The Fred Meikle Trophy with the 26-year full cap from Kirkliston making a 21-12 exit. Logan’s conqueror Steven Fleming of Buchan Park is a player of noted talent and his triumph in 22-ends at Blackburn was sparked by a purple patch run of 1, 2, 1, 2, 1, 2, 1 that accelerated him into an 18-8 lead. Gareth Simpson of Middleton Hall also produced an eye-catching victory at Blackburn where he trailed Stuart Mair of Armadale, 12-0, 13-3, and 15-10 then faced a count of 4 against him. Simpson killed the lot with a superb last bowl draw for a single then added 1, 1, 3, 2, 3 in whirlwind fashion to win 21-15 in 21-ends.
Newbridge top-notchers Jamie Aitken and Greg Baldry clashed at Kirkliston and produced a 24- end thriller that Aitken climaxed with a big 4, 1 finish to win 21-17. Andrew Semple of Newbridge is bidding to reach his third final in a row and the Junior Cap kept on track with a 21-15 win over Nathan McKendrick of Kirkliston at Harrysmuir. It was a bad night for the McKendrick brothers with 21-year old Connor of Middleton Hall making a 21-14 exit in to 20-ends to Stuart Ford of Watson Memorial at Kirkliston. Other results- K McConnell (Armadale) 21 M Dryburgh (Harrysmuir) 8; S Cairns (Harrysmuir) 21 C Gullane (Broxburn) 10; R Miller (Buchan Park) 21 B Mackie (Newbridge) 20.