Alex Marshall MBE was the chief architect and principal driving force for East Lothian as the defending national champions launched their 2017 Hamilton Trophy campaign with a nail-biting 119-114 victory over West Lothian at the ELCO green in Tranent.
‘Tattie’ served up a thumping 22-shot victory that broke the hearts of a bold WL team effort and destroyed the opposition rink skipped by fellow internationalist Thomas Mann.
Marshall, though, shared the acclaim with fellow skip Scott Kennedy, who tipped the scales of match victory with his spectacular burning of the jack on his penultimate end. Kennedy took to the mat challenged by master scoreboard pressures and shots against him but targeted the head with its destruction in mind and his fierce strike exploded on the jack and burnt it good and proper.
The replayed end rubbed more salt in the West Lothian wound with Kennedy skipping his front three of Chris Johnston, Matt McCormack and Gordon White to a count of four shots that forced WL onto the back foot across the six rinks.
Wins for the rinks skipped by Kennedy and Billy Mellors were narrow in margin (one and two) but supported the massive contribution from Marshall to hold off the challenging wins achieved by WL skips Grant Logan, Andrew Dunnett and Neil Speirs.
Marshall made an explosive start having blasted his way into a spectacular 17-1 lead after seven ends then included a later purple patch run of 2, 1, 1, 2, 3,3, 2 as he skipped Dean Riva, Graham Dodds and Alister Kennedy to 33-11 win over Mann.
Kennedy had suffered the 19th end loss of a six to be crossed 17-16 but recovered to snatch a 20-18 win over Sandy McDougall while Mellors and his rink of Callum Darling, Gordon Pryde, and Mal Higgenbotham just edged a 21-20 thriller over Raymond Logan. Grant Logan played the star role for WL, skipping his brother Greg at third and a front end of Drew Paterson and Jordan Pearce to a 27-14 win against Glenn Blair. Dunnett skipped Ewan Shearer, Scott Logan and Calum Logan to a 21-14 win over Brian Young while Steven Forrest, Mark Allison, James Speirs Jnr and Neil Speirs finished with a three to pip John McCrorie, 18-17.
n CRAIGENTINNY make three changes for tonight’s visit to Tanfield in Division 1 of the Alpha Trophies-sponsored Edinburgh Bowling League.
Top-notch trio Josh Spalding, Kevin Hunter and ex-Hillside bowler Gary Muir replace Ian Paterson, Alex Noble and Graeme Cook with Spalding leading to David Brown, Hunter leading to Danny Gormley, and Muir third to Andrew Jeffrey. Tonight’s other Division 1 fixtures are: Northern v Postal; Brunstane v Parkside; Maitland v Hillside.