DEFENDING champions Craigentinny leapfrogged Parkside into top spot in Division 1 of the Alpha Trophies Edinburgh Bowling League with just two fixtures remaining last night.
On a pivotal evening in the title race, Craigentinny romped to a 9-0 away victory over Tanfield, while Parkside, who started the day with a one-point advantage and an unbeaten home record, collapsed to a shock 6-3 defeat at home to relegation-threatened Summerside.
Craigentiny were without regular skip Willie McDonald and team captain Grant McLaren for their trip to Tanfield, but Andy Jeffrey, Ian Paterson, Kevin McFarlane, and Andy Caldwell ensured they went home with a crucial victory.
Jeffrey set the mood for the visitors by skipping Craig McCall, Stuart Betts and Gordon Bold into an 11-2 lead then on to a commanding 23-10 triumph over Stuart Campbell.
Paterson carded a six on his opening end but faced pressure at 12-10 before making fresh space to 17-11 then skipping Josh Spalding, Gary Nisbet and David Brown to a 20-15 win over Mal Higgenbotham.
McFarlane skipped Kevin Hunter, David Torrance and Scott Rogers to an 18-15 win over Ian Duffus, while Darren Smith, Bill Leslie, Daniel Gormley and Caldwell beat Derek McLean, 20-18.
Summerside remain second bottom despite seeds of hope being sewn by wins for Keith Taylor, David Poole and Jim Currie against Parkside.
Neil Watson won a bonus point for Parkside by skipping Andy Davie, Gareth Edwards and Kevin Boyd to a spectacular 36-5 win over David Snodgrass.
But Taylor fired up Summerside by skipping Neil Nisbet, Mark Fyfe and Paul Jeromson to a 21-13 win over Robert Donaldson. Poole beat Derek Smith 17-12 while Currie edged a 15-14 thriller over Paul Veitch.
“We are mystified. It was a terribly flat performance on three of our four rinks,” said Parkside spokesman Derek Smith after his side slipped five points adrift in second place. “For some reason there was a complete lack of atmosphere all night.”
There could still be more twists and turns in the title race, with Parkside at home to Tanfield then away to foot-of-the-table Pilrig while Craigentinny visit Summerside then entertain Northern. However, there is little prospect of it now being a three-horse race as third-place Hillside slumped to a 7-2 defeat at Pilrig which leaves them 10 points off the pace.
Queensberry won 5-4 at home to Northern but are still not safe as they sit five points ahead of Summerside.