Bowls: Fleming fires sizzling final shot to claim his fourth Portobello Singles title

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Ian FLEMING is celebrating his fourth title success in the Singles championship at Portobello indoor bowls club.

Fleming, whose late father Jim was a celebrated figure in the Capital having won both the Tait Trophy and Edinburgh Open crown at Balgreen, entered the final as the reigning champion. However, he knew he had a tough opponent to overcome in the shape of junior Scotland cap Jamie Reid and, sure enough, the match went right down to the wire with the holder escaping to a dramatic 21-19 victory.

A cracking encounter soon developed as both battled for supremacy with Fleming getting his nose in front at 20-19 but still facing the danger of losing his grip on the title.

Reid edged the build-up of the next head to hold the two shots he needed to capture the champions’ crown and his prospects getting them on to the card were enhanced when Fleming fired but missed with his third bowl.

Fleming’s attempt at a rocket destroyer into the head found a gap to whiz through but, undaunted, he opted to fire again with his final bowl and this time his strike exploded on its target to run the jack into the ditch.

It was a spectacular climax to the final as the strike conversion was spot on and left the frustrated Reid with no chance of beating the shot bowl that nestled close to the jack lying in the ditch.

“I think the old man would have been proud of me getting out of jail in such style under extreme pressure and, of course, the big bonus is representing Portobello in next season’s national championship,” reflected Fleming.

Reid, however, gained ample consolation in the Under-25 Junior Singles where he produced another fine display to capture the title with a battling 21-18 win over Liam McKay.

The final of the Four-Bowl Pairs saw defending champions Gordon Bold and Willie McDonald retain their title at the expense of Daniel Gormley jun and Andrew Caldwell.

Caldwell is a regular challenger on finals night at Portobello and the 26-year-old kept his name in lights by skipping Jamie Reid and Chris Steven to the Triples title with a last-end triumph over Craig McCall, Gary Nisbet and Ian Fleming.

Former Singles champion Tony McLaren was fired up to make a successful defence of the Seniors Fours title and did prove to be a hot handful as he skipped Jim McLeod, Jim Laing and Ronnie Douglas to victory.

McLaren and Co had to pull out the stops to overcome the formidable opposition rink of Jimmy Marshall, Adam Davidson, Ian Paterson and George Gray.

The final of the Fours saw Dennis Anderson, Keith Adamson, BJ Smith and Colin Hairs retain the title.