Parkside failed to grab their chance of clinching the Division 1 title of the Alpha Trophies sponsored Bowling League with Wednesday night’s 6-3 win at home to Maitland in the penultimate matches not good enough to kill off the threat posed by Queensberry.
Queensberry turned in a great performance away to defending champions Craigentinny and their 7-2 victory signalled the end of the pre-campaign favourites capturing the title for what would have been a record extending eighth time. Craigentinny will enter the final fixture out of the picture with an unbridgeable 11.5 points gap between them and Parkside but Queensberry do have the leaders still in their sights with a 5.5 difference that makes the final match clash between the two a dream climax to the top flight division of the EBL.
Queensberry entertain Parkside in the final showdown and the shock-troops of the season need one last Herculean effort in the shape of a 9-0 or 8-1 victory to send their support into orbit.
The escape hatch in the relegation zone was pretty well closed on Leith and Summerside whose fate was finally sealed by the former losing 6-3 at home to Northern and the latter beaten 5-4 away at Hillside.
Queensberry produced the result of the night with their three wins, and bonus point, contributed by the rinks skipped by Brian Pollard, Scott Walker, and John Kidd. Pollards win was magical in that he was out the box at 14-10 down and two to play but stole an immensely valuable 18-14 victory by skipping Chris Conway, Jim McDougall, and Paul Kirkland to an amazing 4, 4 finish against Kevin McFarlane. Walker crossed to 13-7 with a run of 3, 3, 1 then inflicted 16-8 defeat on Willie McDonald while Kidd kicked on from 12-11 to bear Andy Jeffrey, 17-13. Frank O’Reilly lost 21-11 to Andy Caldwell.
The Parkside scores were, Derek Smith 21 B Higgins 11; Robert Donaldson 26 G McIntosh 17; Neil Watson 18 A Trotter 18; Paul Veitch 12 J Robertson 14.
Mal Higgenbotham continues to make his mark at Tanfield and is celebrating a ‘magnificent seven’ having served up a strong performance to beat the talented Andy McNab, 21-14, in the championship final. McNab etched his name on the championship board at former club Dean on five occasions before transferring to Tanfield. Higgenbotham goes forward to play his Wardie counterpart at London Road Foundry in tonight’s first round proper of the E&L Tait Trophy- a Champion of Champions title he has won on two previous occasions – 2005 and 2007. A regular at skip in the E&L Hamilton Trophy team, and a former captain, Mally played in four international series for Scotland, the last in 2008.
Gary Smith the England and Scotland international legend from Linlithgow is the latest high profile seed to exit the 16th Scotmid sponsored West Lothian Masters with the 56 year old crashing out in 24-ends to former junior footballer John Ellis of Armadale at Whitburn. Smith (No4) – The Master in 2010 and finalist in 2011 and 2014 – made an encouraging start to lead 10-2, 15-7, and 18-11 but failed to land the killer punch as Ellis stormed to 21 with a whirlwind finishing run of 2, 3, 1, 1, 3.
Raymond Logan the 60-year old No14 seed of Kirkliston was another third round loser with the 1998 national singles champion mostly against the collar and making a 21-18 exit to 2008 champion of champion Rayan Miller of Buchan Park. Miller had Logan at his 13-7 mercy but had a fight on his hands at 19-18 before reaching round 4 with a 1, 2, finish to win in 27-ends.
Linlithgow was also the venue for No3 seed Andy Dunnett of Queensferry and the 41 year old two times Master faced a tough cookie in recently crowned Meikle Trophy champion Andrew Semple of Newbridge; but kicked on from 12-10 to win 21-14.
Frazer Muirhead of Uphall Station – still Scotland’s youngest ever winner of the national title (19 in 1981)- was also parading his skills at Linlithgow where he crossed from 12-13 to beat Charlie Williams of Whitburn, 21-15.
Heartbreak Hotel beckoned for 18 year old Jordan Pearce of Kirkliston with the No16 seed left nursing a 21-20 defeat at Deans from highly rated – and former WLM seed – Graeme Byrne of Linlithgow – runner up in 2006.
Kirkliston’s No 2 seed Grant Logan and No5 seed John Aitken both marched on with Logan converting an 18-2 lead into a 21-7 win over Ian Russell of Blackburn, and Aitken recovering from 14-17 to beat teenager Gordon Snedden of Bellsburn, 21-19.
Other seeds to progress were, Cameron Greer (7) 21 G Simpson (Middleton Hall) 13; Alec Allan (8) 21 B Valentine (Armadale) 14; Walter McDougall (9) 21 A Greer (Pumpherston) 9; Glen King (12) 21 M Bonar (Glenmavis) 13.
The section final venues on Friday night are, Kirkliston and Broxburn.