Bowls: First 16 champions Carrick Knowe back in the groove

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Carrick KNOWE bounced back from their opening draw to get their defence of the Scotmid sponsored Water of Leith 1st Sixteen’s League title back into top gear with a 5-0 away win over Beechwood.

Last year’s champions were held to a shock share of the points at home to Balerno in the first match of the campaign but this time enjoyed wins on all four rinks, although two were won by a single shot.

Colin Mitchell is seen as the leader of the Carrick Knowe hunting pack and the former Commonwealth Games internationalist, and five times Tait Trophy champion, performed at his hungriest to devour ex E&L star Tom Headspeath, 19-8. Mitchell made good space from 5-5 to 13-6 then included a late run of 1, 2, 2, 1, as he skipped Kevin Tennant, Robert Mitchell and John Priestley to an inspiring victory over Beechwood’s icon figure.

Darren Hush is adept at keeping opposition’s quiet and he brought the home rink under immediate pressure with a 4, 1, 2, 1 start to lead 8-0 then remained in charge to skip Andy Beath, Stephen Pringle and Ian McKenna to a 21-16 win over Andy Kennedy.

Richard Tough experienced rough times at 10-3 down to Keith Rutherford but exploded into an 18-11 lead by skipping Chris Crawford, Colin Tough and Craig Aitken to a 2, 2, 3, (1), 2, 5, 1 revival.

Rutherford was still fighting however but just fell short with a 3, 4 finish that left Tough a relieved 18-17 winner.

James Hogg looked set for a drubbing at 13-4 down to Kevin Prior but the new Scotland cap changed the landscape with a picture postcard run of 2, 1, (2), 4, 2, 3 to skip Rab Hush, John Mitchell, and Graham Pringle to a 16-15 win.

The closing stages of Hogg’s frantic comeback were dramatic and at 15-13 down entering the last end the skip freely acknowledged that his match winning count of 3 included two good shots and a last bowl fluke.

Bainfield will be seen as one of several frontline challengers for the title so it is a major shock that having opened with a 4- 1 win over Sighthill they have gone on to suffer a 4-1 defeat at Colinton. Sighthill often mange to get themselves into the title-winning frame and they recovered from their setback at Bainfield to score a 4-1 home win over Slateford.

Other results saw Currie scoring a crushing 5-0 away win over Balerno while Gorgie Mills edged a 3-2 home win over Juniper Green.

Meanwhile, Summerside’s opening match in Division 3 of the Alpha Trophies sponsored Edinburgh Bowling League resulted in a 5-4 home win over London Road Foundry.