Bowls: Carrick Knowe in the hunt for third McFarlane Trophy

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TWO-time champions Carrick 
Knowe are making a strong challenge in the 2012 Edinburgh & Leith Top Five singles title and they are looking strong contenders to etch their name on the coveted Ian McFarlane Trophy for a third time.

Carrick Knowe, who won the inaugural event in 2000 before triumphing again two years later, faced a tough test at home to Parkside on Sunday night, but they came away with a 3-1 win.

Tait Trophy legend Colin Mitchell led the charge, with the 39-times capped former internationalist cruising to a 21-12 victory over John Bell, the son of the famous England team manager.

Richard Tough piled the pressure on Parkside with an accomplished display from the reigning national fours champion (third) that saw off recent District 12 finalist Halley Cockburn 21-11.

James Hogg, who made his international debut last month, clinched the tie for Carrick Knowe as he produced a strong finish to beat budding Parkside star Neil Watson 21-13.

Parkside were kept on the map by a 21-20 win for Alex Hurry, who had recovered from 10-3 down to Craig Aitken, while unfinished business saw Robert Donaldson lead Darren Hush 17-11 when they called it a day.

n DAVID SINCLAIR didn’t achieve every ‘Presidents Dream’ of landing the Hamilton Trophy in his year of office with Edinburgh & Leith but he came mightily close by reaching the final.

E&L have greatly disappointed their support in the capital by under-performing in the Cities & Counties Championship since throwing away the final of 2004 against Dumfriesshire at Ayr Northfield.

Officials came in for criticism as both players and supporters lost confidence in the selection process, leading to demands for the introduction of a team manager, however, that change of direction was resisted until David Sinclair took office.

“I was part of the system that was obviously failing to deliver, so accepted that something had to change and, after due process, the 2012 committee of management took the positive – and for us adventurous – step of appointing a team manager,” explained Sinclair.

“Willie Watson of Parkside became our man as he had recent experience of playing for us at Hamilton Trophy level, so knew the players and was a popular figure with them, but more importantly he demonstrated he had other exceptional qualities.

“Willie has knowledge, vision, enthusiasm, and inspirational communication skills that are all vital to winning respect and on top of that he bowled us over at his interview with the passionate picture he painted of making his and our dream come true.

“We lost in the final against Lanarkshire South at Montrose on Saturday and we are all gutted at that but by getting us there in his first season, Willie has managed to lead E&L out of the shadows of the sport and into the sunshine by getting a great campaign response from our hugely talented squad of players.

“Willie has shown E&L the promise of a more productive future and under his management I am confident that our bowlers will deliver for us with a style and passion. Suddenly our committee meetings have become more enjoyable.”

The landmark 2012 campaign reached its climax with the following players representing E&L in the final.

Rink 1: Alan Trotter, Brian Stoddart, John McDermott and Robert Marshall.

Rink 2: Scott Noble, Stuart Campbell, Darren Hush and James Hogg.

Rink 3: Andrew Caldwell, Gavin Smith, Jamie Gracie and Willie McDonald.

Rink 4: Craig McCall, Alan Brown, Robert Donaldson and Mal Higgenbotham.

Rink 5: Neil Watson, Craig Pateron, Paul Veitch and Paul O’Donnell.

Rink 6: Kevin Hunter, Andrew Sneddon, Colin Hutchison and Billy Mellors (capt).