King of Kings figure Robert Marshall of Slateford reigns once again as The Champion of Champions of Edinburgh & Leith having captured the legendary Tait Trophy(1888) for a super sixth time, defeating Kevin McNab of Dean in a thrilling climax to the final played at Wardie.Read More
Marshall’s clinching of a 21-18 victory in 24-ends hung in the balance right up to carding the title winning single having suffered the rising tensions caused by McNab being in with the chance of escaping from the jaws of defeat.
“I managed to dominate the build up of the 24th end and at 20-18 held shot for game and title but Kevin had potential match winning position at the back and it was a breath catching moment for both of us when he went for a last bowl trail on the jack”.
The noise on the whole banking silenced to a hush as the pace and direction of McNabs bid for glory looked on course to trigger a Dean eruption; but a slight dip approaching the target made it a failed attempt by a whisker. “Robert still had his last bowl to come so who knows what would have happened under pressure had my conversion been successful however it wasn’t and I just remember my instant thought being, could I please get it back and play it again”. “It was a match winning opportunity that will stay in my head for a long time as a what might have been scenario however in real time terms I have lost to a legend of the sport and played well enough to give him a run for his money”.
The weather conditions made a for a rain drenched playing surface and it is a credit to Wardie that their green sweepers presented the finalists with a playable rink that both proceeded to cope with and produce an entertaining spectacle. Marshall (52) describes himself as a slow starter so losing the first three ends to singles only was a manageable situation in his head, and if any doubts did exist then they were blown away by an explosive run of 2, 3, 3, 2 that fired the 20 times champion of Slateford into a 10-3 lead.
McNab (47) ended that assault with a double to 5 and impressed with a coolness of head and battling attitude that kept him in the picture at 13-9 down; however Marshall is relentless in pursuit of winning outcomes and he accelerated to 18 with a run of 1, 2, 2. “It was time to buck myself up” said McNab later, and the Dean champion did that in spectacular style with counts of a 4, 1, 1, 2 rocking Marshall back onto his heels and now defending a slender 18-17 lead.
Marshall doesn’t do panic and his response to the imminent danger he was in came in the positive shape of a double to 20; but the temperature of the melting pot was kept at sizzling point when McNab then saved game by carding a last bowl single to 18. “I won my first Tait back in 1982 and although the crowd is much thinner now and the atmosphere not quite as suffocating it remains the holy grail dream that inspires competitive singles play in the capital”, summed up the newly crowned six times Champion of Champions.