Scott Mackintosh will carry the District 14 banner as their spearhead figure in the final stages of the Scottish Championships next month with the prolific 45 year old London Road Foundry champion booking his passage in the Singles at the expense of his Postal counterpart, Christian Berra.
Mackintosh lined up in the final at Craigentinny bidding for his third District triumph in seven years and his experience of reaching the 2009 national final and current back-to back title triumphs in the Tait Trophy stood him in good stead. Berra’s magic carpet ride through to the final had been a thrilling experience for the popular Postal champion and his enthusiastic support, and he gave a good representation of his skills against Mackintosh; but reaching Ayr Northfield proved a post code too far. Mackintosh was quick out of the blocks to get off the mark with two 2’s then raced into a 9-2 lead on a surface that was fast paced and more to his liking than Berra’s. Berra showed resistance with a couple of 2’s to 6 but Mackintosh answered that menace by landing a smart 1, 2 to look in command at 12-6 then at 13-8 and faced with shot against he conjured up a magic trail conversion for a 2 shot reward. Macintosh then added 2, 1 to 18-8 and answered the loss of a single with a 3 on end 17 to clinch a commanding 21-9 victory.
Adding an extra dimension to the finals was the presence of Macintosh’s 14 -year old son Craig bidding to reach Ayr under his own steam but faced with a major challenge in the shape of Liam McKay in the final of the Under 25 singles. McKay was fresh from hitting the headlines by making a successful defence of The Fleming Trophy in the E&L finals but the 18 year-old Tanfield star was very aware that Macintosh had already captured the scalp of Junior Caps Daniel Gormley and Josh Spalding.
Macintosh made a nerve-free start to stand 4-4 then conceded 1, 3 but answered that testing pressure with a purple patch spell of 1, 1, 2, 1, 2, to cross into an 11-8 lead It was McKay’s turn to show he was made of the real stuff and he provided the evidence with an exciting double hat trick of 2’s to 20 then clinched a 21-14 win in 20-ends.
John Duncan subbed for Alan Nicol in the Pairs and skipped his Wardie colleague Frank Clelland to a 17-10 win that ended the dreams of young Pilrig brothers Chris and Andrew Tregonning.
Maitland caused an early storm in the Triples with their trio of Mark McIntosh, Brian Higgins, and Graeme McIntosh producing a whirlwind run of 1, 1, 1, 2, 1, 3, 1, 1, 1 to lead 12-0, then they thundered to a 17-2 win over Hugh Hilson, Andy Reid, and Ian Miller of Northern.
Colin Bell skipped his Hillside rink of John Simpson, John Newall, and BJ Smith to a 20-7 win over Maitland’s Peter Morris, Gordon B Smith, Stevie Ritchie, and Alan Flockhart.
The fact that it was a ‘glorious failure’ made the pain of defeat even more severe for Bellsburn as the West Lothian champions made a dramatic 4-4 exit on shot margin (9) to Burnbank of Lanarkshire in the semi finals of The Co-operative Funeralcare sponsored Inter County Top Ten Championship at Eddlewood in Hamilton. The climax was a truly traumatic one with the Bellsburn partnership of Sam Gray and Craig Yeaman defending a 17-16 lead going into the final end of the match, and needing at least a peel to clinch a 5-3 result for a place in the final. Bellsburn had led 12-6 and holding shots against former indoor caps Gerry Sullivan and Jim McCann but the lead expertly ditched the jack that led to the damaging loss of a 6 then further counts of 1, 2, 1 to cross 16-12. Bellsburn rallied boldly with counts of 3, 1, 1 to regain the lead at 17-16 but faced a strong head against them when Yeaman came to play his do or die final delivery. The pressure on him was intense but Yeaman looked inch perfect to draw the game clincher, and match winner, however the slightest of fades on his bowl caused it to dip inside the jack and it come to rest six inches away.
To the consternation of Bellsburn – but the joy and relief of Burnbank – Yeaman’s bowl had gone two inches too far to kill the second shot against them, costing them an 18-17 defeat and leading to a 4-4 share of the points; but match defeat by 9 shots. Spearhead figure Scott Middlemiss had inspired the Bellsburn effort with a strong recovery from 4-11 to cross 15-14 then from 17-19 added 2, 1, 1 to snatch a 21-19 win over Michael Docherty in the Singles. The rink of Gordon Snedden, Davy McQueen, Eddie Caulfield, and Simon Lamb converted a 12-6 lead into a 16-11 win in the Fours over Scott Fair (skip). But the roof had caved in on the Triple of Stuart Mackay, Jack Murphy, and Alan Murphy who suffered a damaging 22-7 defeat from Hugh Letham, Thomas Kerr, and Brian Davies.
Burnbank went on to coast the final at the 6-2 expense of Dumfriesshire champions Kirconnel who had defeated Strathmiglo of Fife County 6-2 in their semi final. Bellsburn beat Strathmiglo 6-2 in the third/fourth playoff.