The showcase finals of the Buyrite Bathrooms sponsored Knockout Championships of The Edinburgh Bowling League played at Summerside produced great theatre and none-more-so than the dramatic and traumatic 21-20 climax to the Singles.
Craig Duffus emerged the hero figure in a glorious title double haul for Willowbrae with the 28-year old food retail manager capturing the Singles crown with a formbook upset against David Fisher of Colinton. Duffus came into the final with creditable form as a three times club champion and having taken the scalp of E&L Hamilton Trophy star Alan Trotter of Maitland in his semi final; but understanding he was seen as the underdog against Fisher.
Fisher – six times club champion, a District champion, and E&L captain in this season’s Hamilton Trophy – had looked the real deal in his previous rounds and the 37- year old business manager was driven to deliver a debut season EBL title for Colinton. The Singles final is the top of the bill of the six act card and the decent sized banking were kept enthralled by 19-ends of roller coaster action starting with Fisher making the stronger start to lead 10-4 after six ends.
“Summerside runs faster than Willowbrae and I was finding it difficult to find a consistency of good weight in the early stages at which time my main thought was to try and hold on to David’s coat tails”, said Duffus later Duffus suddenly came good and in a big way in the shape of a stunning six end spell that saw him card 2, 3, (2), 4, 1, 2, and accelerated him into a 16-12 lead.
“I remember thinking gosh I can win this now and even when David hit back with a three to 15 I thought I was back on track with a single to17; but my confidence rush was a bit premature”. Whilst hitting 13 is seen as a graveyard figure when an underdog, in particular, is first to reach 17 it is entering nervous territory as the winning line and its rewards are enticingly within your grasp. Experience kicks in and that script run true to form with Fisher conjuring up a magic run of 1, 1, 2, 1 that had the pundits on the banking saying I told you so with the Colinton ace on the bring of a title victory at 20-17. “I have blown it” was the thought of Duffus entering end 19.
End 19 turned out to be a nightmare for Fisher but an out of this world experience for Duffus with the Willowbrae challenger escaping from jail with a stunning four shots to clinch a spectacular victory. Fisher had been a touch unlucky in his build up play resulting in Duffus holding three excellent shots with one bowl to play – “I was a nervous wreck as I approached the mat knowing that making my fourth bowl count would win me the title”.
Duffus found nerves of steel just when he needed to and with a two- foot margin to work in brilliantly added shot number four. “My head is still in the clouds and I am over the moon at becoming the EBL Singles Champion”.
Meanwhile Willowbrae were serving up a title winning performance in The Seniors Fours with George Wood skipping Bert Munro, Jim Cassels, and current club champion Ian Paterson to a handsome 17-8 victory over Parkside. The game-changing highlight came in a three – end period that yielded counts of 2, 3, 2 and pushed Willowbrae into a 15-5 lead over Tom Hogg, Jack Logan, David Moran, and Martin Quinn.