Bowls: Bainfield pay fitting tribute to Alec Ross

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Bainfield bowlers paid a magnificent tribute to the memory of the late Alec Ross with an international gathering of stars at the Hutchison Crossway stadium in an Invitation Fours event sponsored by Belhaven Brewery.

A field of 36 rinks and 144 players contested nine Round Robin sections of four then the 16 qualifiers from that continued in knockout.

And the much-missed legend of bowls in Edinburgh would have been chuffed to bits that the inaugural winners of the tournament named in his honour were Capital challengers Chris Downie, Chris Steven, Colin Hutchison and Gavin Smith. Indeed, the final was an all-Edinburgh affair as their victims in a dramatic climax were Craig Paterson, Stuart Patterson, Craig Moss and Paul O’Donnell, making seven of the eight finalists for the £600 champion rink prize from Bainfield with Chris Steven, who hails from Portobello, being the odd one out.

Smith’s rink lead 5-3 but were pegged back by a 1, 1, finish from O’Donnell before a single at the deciding extra end sealed the outcome.

It took stamina and skill to reach the final as play had started at 9.00am on Saturday and it was 10.30pm before the finalists took to the carpet for the final showdown.

Smith and Co got out of jail with a magnificent 7 to beat Stuart Anderson – up from Wales – in the quarter-finals, then performed another escape with a 5 in the semis to beat a rink of teenagers skipped by Neil Watson. O’Donnell and Co were 9-4 winners of Stuart Airey of England in the quarter-finals then just managed to tip the scales with a single at the last to win 6-5 against Robert Marshall for a place in the final.