LAST NIGHT’S prelim round bowls action in the E&L Tait Trophy saw Hillside champion Gary Muir make a shock exit as the 21-20 victim of his Liberton counterpart, David Bruce, in a 23-end thriller at Pilrig.
Muir – national junior singles finalist in 2010 – made an encouraging start to nose a 9-8 lead but came under pressure when Bruce sledgehammered him with successive counts of 4 to cross 16-9.
The Hillside champion bounced back with a run of 1, 2, 2, to 14 then answered the loss of a single with successive doubles to regain the upper hand at 18-17 but, in a ding-dong exchange, ended up trailing Bruce 19-18.
Bruce might have become a spent force when Muir carded a double to have him at his 20-19 mercy but the Liberton champion produced a fighting finish by placing a noser on the jack at end 23 then doubling it up for magic count of 2 to 21.
Carrick Knowe champion Graham Pringle picked up the pace from 10-10 to reach 17 with a run of 2, 4, 1 against Brian Hardie of Trinity at Dean who then put the outcome back into the melting pot with a sizzling spell of 1, (1), 1, 4, 2 to stand 18-8.
But Pringle proved equal to the challenge and answered the pressure and clinched a 21-18 win in 22 ends with a 2, 1 finish.
Jim Fyfe of Wardie faced the exit door at 13-6 down to Alan Morrison of Willowbrae after 13 ends at Brunstane but turned the tide with a storming fight back to cross 16-14 then answered the loss of a single with a 3, 2 finish to win 21-15 in 22 ends.
Gavin Thomson carried the Mayfield banner forward at the 21-17 expense of Jim Fleming of Seafield in 23 ends at Postal having clinched a hard-fought battle with a 2 and 1 finish.
Tanfield champion Stuart McKean started strongly and was always operating on the front-foot to beat Andy Reid of Northern, 21-13, at London Road Foundry. The next round of the Tait is played on Friday.