West End Bowling Club have iced the cake of their 150th Anniversary celebrations by causing a major formbook upset to capture the coveted Edinburgh Top Ten title with a 6-2 points win over Queensberry in the final played at Mayfield BC. Wins in the Singles, Pairs, and Fours triggered a euphoric response of exuberant excitement in the camp of a club that has a rich history but starved of major title achievements in a long long time.
“We lost to Bainfield in the final of the 1982 Top Ten but have never been in the hunt for a high profile title in the capital since so to achieve this level of success in such a landmark year for the club is taking us into dreamland”, said spokesman Graham Hockaday. West End would have probably been quoted amongst the 100/1 others at the outset of their Top Ten campaign and even coming into the final they were a 4th placed Division 2 club in the Edinburgh Bowling League competing against the 4th placed club in Division 1. “The Top Ten does change the balance of probability as in our case we are a stronger and therefore more competitive unit fielding 10 players in comparison to a team of 16 in the league system”, added Hockaday who is captain as well as Secretary of West End. “We did understand that we would be looked upon as the underdogs against Queensberry but we were powered by the 150th year factor and our confidence was high following upset wins over Sighthill in the quarters and Hillside in the semis”, he continued. The outcome in the Singles is a strong indicator of the likely flow of a Top Ten match as it is usually a first blood head to head that inspires the colleagues of the winner and raises concern in the ranks of the opposition. And in that respect Donnie Gilbertson played a hero role for West End with the spearhead figure exploding from the blocks to race into a 13-2 lead over a highly rated opponent in Tam Ebbs. Ebbs did raise hopes in the Queensberry camp with a fight back to 9 and was still in touching distance of Gilbertson at 11-15 but the leader answered the growing menace with a run of 2, 1,2 to 20 then on end 21 held the single shot he needed for victory. But Ebbs raised the match temperature with an excellent take-out that rewarded him with a double to 13 then he added another double then a single to 16 before Gilbertson carded the winning single on end 24. The picture across the green at that stage wasn’t too bleak for Queensberry as they were going great guns in the Triples with their trio of Alan Watson, Paul Kirkland, and John Kidd having Keith Gellaitry, Grant Pagan, and Peter Gibb on toa But West End were beginning to get the upper-hand in the Fours with their rink of Callum Gilbertson, Hockaday, Murray Baillie, and Mark Church benefiting from a purple patch spell of 2, 2, (10, 1, 2 that stretched them into a 15-8 lead after 13-ends. “Looking across the green our Pairs were also holding the driving seat so the feel good factor was spreading within our ranks and in the case of the rink we pushed on to deliver an 18-11 win over Chris Conway, Mike Imrie, Colin Jones, and Frank O’Reilly”, reflected Hockaday. Meanwhile the West End partnership of Ray Dorans and Moray Tait had been tested at 12-9 up from a lead of 10-2 but answered with a 1, 4 that put them in a 17-9 comfort zone over Jordan Davidson and Brian Pollard, and they converted that into a handsome 21-11 victory. With three wins in the bag for West End the outcome in the Triples was academic but a 19-9 consolation for a Queensberry side that accepted their defeat in good grace. West End will now proudly carry the Edinburgh banner into the 2015 Scottish Inter County Championship ( Stewart Meikle 1/09/14)