Bowls: Hurry and Mackintosh carry Capital hopes

Scott Mackintosh

Scott Mackintosh

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Experienced campaigners Scott Mackintosh and Alex Hurry will lead Edinburgh’s challenge in the Gents Singles as the top action in the National Championships swings into action at the Ayr Northfield Bowls Complex.

Macintosh, of London Road Foundry, carries the banner for District 14 when ties begin on Thursday and, having reached the final in 2009, the 45-year-old has excellent credentials that includes winning the two most recent Tait Trophy titles.

Hurry went great guns in the 2004 championships, only to be spiked by eventual champion Paul Foster in the semi-finals, while the now 37-year-old District 15 spearhead from Parkside is a former winner of the Edinburgh Open.

The last player to bring the coveted national title to Edinburgh was Billy Mellors of Goldenacre in 2006 and the 41-year-old is in the 2015 field, but this time representing the banner of East Lothian as the champion of West Barns.

Andy Dunnett of Queensferry is a two-times winner of The West Lothian Masters Title and the 41-year-old is in good recent form having booked his place at Ayr with the 21-20 scalp of international star Grant Logan of Kirkliston in their District final.

Midlothian’s Stuart Roseburgh of Loanhead MW has less of a profile, but it is skills that count most and he will be well fired up in his bid to reach the heights of the great Dick Bernard in 1970.

The luck of the draw has been unkind to Edinburgh and the Lothians with Mellors first out of the hat and drawn against Macintosh and they go head to head on Friday at 1pm while Hurry takes to the green against Kenny Murray of Stranraer at 3pm.

Dunnett launches his campaign against James Howell of Clarkston at 5pm and is joined by Stuart Bebbington of Ayton.

Mellors is joined in the 32 strong field by other former champions in the shape of Iain McLean (2013), Mark Kelsey (2011) and Jonathan Ross (2010), while other high profie names include, Jason Banks (Inverurie), Steven Allan (Menstrie), Robert Grant (Overtown & Waterloo).

Tanfield produced the singles champion proper in 1984, with Willie Paul their hero figure and hopes are high that the Junior version of that title can be delivered in 2015 by 18-year-old Liam McKay with the exciting talents of the teenager demonstrated by his recent successful defence of the E&L Fleming Trophy.

Stephen Pringle of Carrick Knowe is also a strong hope to bring the junior crown back to the Capital, as the 21-year-old is already an experienced campaigner and toughened up as a regular on the Hamilton Trophy scene with Edinburgh & Leith.

The wider Lothian challenge also brings high-quality players into the picture in the shape of Daniel McDougall (Buccleuch), Ross Thomson (ELCO), and 
18 year old Jordan Pearce of Kirkliston.

McKay opens on Friday at 1pm against Jordan Baptie of Glencarse, Pringle faces Robert Kinloch of Shettleston at 11am,McDougall tackles Kyle Ross of Fortrose & Rosemarkie at 9am; Thomson takes on Douglas Balfour of Giffnock at 9am; while Pearce has it knowingly tough against Chris Stein of Markinch, also at 9am.

Midlothian have the strongest looking Pair on paper in the shape of Ronnie Duncan and Kevin McDougall of 
Bonnyrigg, while Graeme McIntosh skipped Tanfield to the Triples title in 2010 and is now the pilot figure for son Mark and Brian Higgins under the Maitland banner.

Bainfield star Craig Paterson was a big hope for the 2014 Singles and now seeks better fortune as he skips his Bainfield rink of Stuart Clark, David McNair and Steven Pilley in the Fours on Thursday.

Gary Smith bids to bring extra icing to Linlithgow’s 150th Anniversary Cake with the famous England/Scotland cap skipping Andrew Grimshaw Jnr, Mark Graham, and David Alexander.

The final day’s play takes place on Sunday.