The Willowbrae banner is set to appear in the the finals day showcase of the Buyrite Bathrooms sponsored Knockout Championships of The Edinburgh Bowling League to be played at Summerside on Saturday September 5, with Craig Duffus surviving an epic semi final battle in the Singles discipline.Read more
Duffus went head to head as the marginal underdog against Maitland star Alan Trotter at Queensberry but immediately rewrote the script by exploding into an 11-1 lead after seven ends then made the end plot look to have a happy ending in store for him when standing in sight of the winning line at 17-7. Trotter brought himself some light relief with a three to 10 then answered the menacing loss of a double with a strong 2, 3, 1, 1, 1, 2 fight back that powered him into a 20-19 lead; but a thrilling climax on end 22 saw Duffus escape his nightmare scenario with a winning double to 21.
Meanwhile the semi final being staged at Tanfield also produced drama but probably unfolded in the expected direction of profile superiority with Hamilton Trophy team captain David Fisher of Colinton pulling out all the stops the beat Mark Hewitt of Whitehouse & Grange, 21-15. Fisher was reminded that he had a skill testing fight on his hands with the score deadlocked at 10-10 after 13 ends but enjoyed a 3, (1), 2, 1 purple patch spell to hold the aces at 16-11 then produced a resolute finish to win in 20-ends.
Stephen Pringle of Carrick Knowe was the senior figure in the last four of the Under 25 Singles and the junior cap is still in with a shout for the title but in sensational circumstances as he was part way through the exit door at 18-8 down to Andrew Tregoning of Pilrig. Pringle counted at four of the next five ends but still looked destined for the sidelines at 20-13 down, however in a finish that would have impressed his late headline maker mentor Alec Ross he stormed to 21 with a whirlwind run of 4, 3, 1.
The other semi final featured two of the capital city’s emerging teenage stars in the shape of Mark McIntosh of Maitland and Craig Mackintosh of London Road Foundry and they served up a cracking 24-end encounter. Macintosh led 9-5 after nine ends then the pendulum swung to McIntosh who accelerated to 17-9 with a run of 1, 2, 1, 1, 2, 2, 1, 2, and that proved to be the game-changer albeit the Maitland challenger had to conjure up a 2, 1 finish to clinch a 21-16 victory. Other results – Pairs; Carrick Knowe 16 Craigentinny 8; Bainfield 15 Hillside 14. Triples; Whitehouse & Grange 17 Merchiston 9; Hillside 23 Coltbridge 3. Fours; Corstorphine 21 Bainfield 6; Northern 18 Tanfield 9.
Pilrig making it into second place is the major story; but Tanfield are acknowledged as very worthy Division 2 champions of The Alpha Trophies sponsored Edinburgh Bowling League thereby making an immediate return to a Division 1 that they have lorded over on a grand six occasions. Pilrig have also had their moments of domination in the highest echelon Division of the EBL having been the inaugural champions in 1998 then celebrating the title glory again in 2008. But having dropped down to Division 2 there was a time early in their 2015 campaign that the once top ranking club was flirting with a spell in Division 3 however the wake up call was answered just in time to escape the relegation blues.
Pilrig sharpened their focus found better form and whizzed up the table, too late to threaten their old foes Tanfield but in time to spoil the dreams of second place challengers Postal and Goldenacre in particular. The final fixtures saw Pilrig needing to clinch their return to Division 1 with a strong result at home to fellow rivals Goldenacre and they delivered the goods in great style with a 9-0 result that put them beyond the reaches of the chasing pack. Postal – bidding to make Division 1 for the first time – had the biggest hard luck story being restricted to third place by the frustrating margin of three points having finished a seriously exciting campaign with a 7-2 win at home to Wardie.