Edinburgh Bowling League and the race for the title is in the melting pot with two-in-row- defending champions Craigentinny breathing down the neck of long-time frontrunners Parkside.
Parkside can be difficult to pass but their half point lead puts them under immense pressure to deliver extra-special results on the now short run in starting with high expectations at home against foot of the table Leith. Leith – last season’s Division 2 champions – are destined for a quick return to the lower division but showed a glimmer of improved form in last weeks 7-2 win over Maitland and even a win on one of their four rinks would do damage to the Parkside cause.
Craigentinny’s reputation as strong finishers was enhanced by last weeks 9-0 win away to Summerside and the record seven-times champions will be itching for a repeat of that with home advantage over sometimes iffy travellers, Hillside. Hillside are sitting pretty safe in third from bottom as they are 16½ points clear of Leith but they are competitive animals and having a go at top dogs like Craigentinny gives them a hungry appetite to inflict what pain they can. Craigentinny have awesome strength in depth that includes E&L stars like Andy Caldwell, Daniel Gormley, Gordon Bold, Willie McDonald, Josh Spalding and players of that like Craig McCall, Kevin McFarlane, and Kevin Hunter.
Queensberry are having a great season and well worthy of their lofty position as third placed challengers but with six points between them and Craigentinny their prospect of breaking up the top two are not bright. However they could raise eyebrows and expectations if they show a killer instinct to bag maximum points at home to relegation doomed Summerside – so cant be written off quite yet as legitimate outside challengers for the title.
Maitland at home to Northern is a fifth versus fourth middle of the table battle of great relevance of them but having no influence on title or relegation matters.
The action in Division 2 will test the resolve of former ‘Big Guns’ Pilrig to make it back to where they know they belong as it will take the old razzle-dazzle form to escape from second placed Postal with the necessary victory. Postal are enjoying there serious tilt at making it into Division 1 for the first time and will be inspired by the knowledge that adding to their current three point advantage over their fourth placed visitors would be a massive result.
Goldenacre also have a big say in who will join Tanfield in the Top Two but having weakened into third place by losing at home to relegation zoned Mayfield their visit to Wardie looks frought with danger. Mayfield are at home to Willowbrae in a foot of the table battle with whatever outcome offering little hope of escape to either.
Ian Paterson Snr – or the older as he might prefer- is champion of Willowbrae BC for a fifth time with the 71-year old competing in his 9th final and finding the form of old to score a 21-16 victory in 25-ends against his 68-year old challenger, Gordon Taylor.
Paterson is no stranger to celebrating sporting highs as he was a Scottish Junior Cup hero with Bonnyrigg Rose back in the final of 1966 scoring at both ends of Hampden Park as their dashing centre forward in a 6-1 triumph over Whitburn in a replay.
“These were the Days’ say’s Ian “ but I was also a young booler at the time as a member of Willowbrae and the sport has been good to me down all of those years.
“Winning the club championship for a fifth time is a tremendous joy but didn’t come easy as Gordon was hunting to achieve a treble and when he clawed me back from 18-9 to 19-16 I realised it really was game on”. Taylor had revived his chances by changing the length of jack from long to short but a single to 19 gave Paterson the chance to go long on end 25 and his reward was the winning single to 21. It’s every club champions dream in the Capital to etch his name on the iconic cup The Tait Trophy as it is The Champion of Champions and Paterson came close in 1981 when losing to David McGill in the final.
Paterson also reached the semi finals in 1997 but lost out to eventual champion Kevin Rice however he was able to share a fantastic highlight moment when his then 27 year old son Ian Jnr beat Robert Marshall in the 2001 final. “I can’t rate my own chances high in the fast looming 2015 Tait as I am at the wrong end of the age scale but I am immensely proud to be carrying the Willowbrae banner once again and will be giving it my best”.