Bowls: Edinburgh Bowling League reaches climax

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THE much-acclaimed Edinburgh Bowling League season ends tomorrow, with Hillside BC the venue for the showcase climax to the ABT Machine Tools-sponsored Knockout Championships.

Six finals will take place, with the big one being the singles showdown between George Kirk of Blackhall and Colin Hairs of the host club. Despite home green advantage, Hairs is the underdog.

Kirk, 29, has already won the EBL Knockouts singles trophy in 2011, while he also won the Junior Singles (Under 25) title on a record four occasions.

Hairs (37) has never quite lived up to the promise of his appearance in the 2000 final of the Edinburgh Open at Balgreen, but remains competitive enough to achieve a major title success. It is not unknown for the singles proper to be upstaged by the final of the Junior singles, and the clash between Euan Craig of Pilrig and Josh Spalding of Craigentinny could be spectacular.

Craig, also a winner of the E&L Fleming Trophy, is the defending champion of the EBL title, while Spalding captured the silverware in 2011 and reached the final of the Scottish Championship the same year.

In the doubles, Blackhall pair Grant Walker and Jim 
Melliss face Jim Conner and Jamie Gunn of Corstorphine. Blackhall were the inaugural winners of the title in 1998, while Corstorphine seek their first success. In the triples, Craigentinny big guns Craig McCall, George Johnstone and David Brown meet Ron Semray, Bruce Young and Tom Gallagher of Brunstane. Both clubs seek a first-time title success in the discipline.

Leith have yet to win a title in the Knockouts, so Graeme Ward, Mike McBrierty, Craig Ramsay and Gavin Ramsay will be fired up to put that right in the fours. Ramsay and Co are sure to get things tough against the Northern rink of Gary Large, Gary Harrison, Grant Young and Roy Campbell.

In the Seniors fours, Bill Lee, Brian Hogg, David Nelson and David Scott of Goldenacre face David Wylie, David Wood, Stan McBain and Jim Fyfe of 
Wardie. Neither club have won the title before.

During finals day, the EBL will present the Edinburgh Sick Kids with a sizeable cheque from fund-raising efforts throughout the season. The EBL were so impressed by the “dedicated charity day” efforts of Portobello youths Euan Gray and sisters Larissa and Nadia Praino that they will attend the finals as special guests.