Bainfield ace Craig Paterson is the spearhead in the District 15 challenge for national title glory in the final stages of the Scottish Championships at Ayr Northfield this week.
And the 35-year-old will have a large Edinburgh support cheering on his efforts in the singles.
The draw has been less than kind to Paterson as his opening test on Friday (3.30pm) is a major one in the shape of defending champion Iain McLean of Blackwood Victoria, whose fine record at Ayr includes winning the Junior title in 2002 and 2007.
“I understand that I will have to be on top form to stand a chance against Iain, but I am not overawed by his reputation or indeed the occasion as I have crossed swords often with him in team events, and have won a Hamilton Trophy title with Edinburgh & Leith and celebrated back-to-back triumphs in the Scottish Indoor Triples,” said Paterson.
“Iain will be the pre-match favourite in most people’s eyes, but I don’t have a negative attitude and certainly intend to be up for it.”
Paterson certainly isn’t short of experience of the big occasion but the biggest boost to his self-confidence comes from his commanding win over Robert Marshall in the District 15 final.
The other half of Edinburgh is represented by District 14 champion Gavin Smith – 15 indoor caps to his name – who represents the proud Pilrig banner and opens against Michael Ward of Ardeer in the 5.30pm session.
Colin Walker of Pathhead makes his first appearance in the singles, but the Midlothian player is a major contender with 24 caps to his name, a member of the Elite Squad, and twice a finalist in the Scottish Indoor Singles. Walker opens against Peter Lamont of Tollcross (Glasgow) on the next-door rink to Paterson/McLean with the winners clashing in the second round.
Thomas Mann of Newbridge is also a member of the elite squad – as is McLean – and fresh from his role as a support squad member of the Commonwealth Games triple gold medal effort, the 33-year-old with 21 caps spearheads the West Lothian Challenge.
Danger lurks in the first round, however, with Mann facing Stewart Anderson of Glaisnock Valley – the 2013 World Indoor Singles champion.
Gordon White of Aberlady completes the challenge from the Lothians, with the dark horse spearhead for East Lothian opening against a seasoned campaigner in Jim Byron of St Monans.
Ian Campbell of Houldsworth will rival his Lanarkshire colleague McLean as the big crowd-puller, while Kevin Anderson of Dumbarton – the 2010 Junior champion – also figures among the frontline contenders for the blue riband title of the championships.
Teenager Dean Mackintosh cheered his father, Scott, to a near miss in the final of the singles in 2009, but it’s the 17-year-old from London Road Foundry now bidding to capture the limelight in the 2014 junior singles.
Mackintosh is joined in the line-up by Ross Noble (Sighthill), Connor McKendrick (Middleton Hall), Jason Urquhart (Danderhall MW) and Grant Thomson of East Linton.
David Peacock deserves a Scottish title having tasted defeat in the singles finals of 1992 and 1999 and pairs final of 2005 and how better for the recent gold medal hero to achieve it by skipping his brother Billy to success in the pairs?
The stand-out clash in the first round – Thursday at 9.30am – features the vastly experienced Stan Christie and David Scott of Northern (Edinburgh) against the high-profile WL partnership of Bathgate’s Cameron Greer and Bryan Cooper.
Billy Mellors – last year’s pairs champion and previously a winner of the junior singles and singles – is back in the limelight skipping Ian Thorburn and Gary Landells for West Barns in the triples.
Andy Caldwell won the 2011 title and the Craigentinny ace is back skipping Darren Smith and Ian Paterson Jr.
Tomorrow – Women’s preview