Bowls: Kirk’s bid for Knockout title on course with final place

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Blackhall ace George Kirk stepped up his bid to capture the Singles crown of the Ian Mackay Contracts-sponsored Edinburgh Bowling League Knockout Championships with a convincing semi-final win over teenager Daniel Gormley of Craigentinny.

Kirk is already a legend of the Junior singles having won it a record four times and now the 27-year-old is driven by a desire to make a lasting impression on the senior event. Gormley is a bright emerging prospect from the rich reservoir of talent at Craigentinny but the 18-year-old fell out of the game and Kirk triumphed 21-10 in 22 ends.

Hillside was the venue and the Craigentinny support witnessed a second disappointment with their rink of Ian Duncan, Ronnie Hoskin, Stuart McFarlane and Andrew Caldwell crashing to a 23-16 defeat from Goldenacre.

Caldwell and Co looked to be in good shape at 16-14 up but their roof caved in with the loss of 2, 4, 3 to Alan Head, Lawrence Robertson, Ronnie Munro and Ian Pullar.

Craigentinny were in three semi-finals however and their dark cloud had a silver lining in the shape of 16-year-old Josh Spalding who produced a typically sparkling display to beat Scott Mitchell of Corstorphine, 21-8, in the Junior Singles.

Last-end drama in the Pairs saw Norrie Graham and Kevin McNab of Dean card a double to snatch a 13-12 victory over David Moran and Brian Salvona of Parkside.

The Triples turned into one-way traffic for Tramways with John Stephen, George Richardson and George Czemartin zipping from 4-5 to 12-5 then winning 12-7 against Ian McLaren, Willie Stoddart and John Wilson of Corstorphone.

Meanwhile, the semi-final action at Maitland had EBL official Brian Higgins declaring: “The drama here was tense and exciting and the climaxes thrilling.”

Graeme McIntosh of Tanfield is a serious contender for the Singles title with the 53-year-old former Edinburgh Open champion answering pressure at 16-15 with a 4, 1 finish against John Urquhart of Ardmillan.

A cracking encounter in the Junior Singles saw 21-year-old student Steven Hunter of Whitehouse & Grange produce an awesome conversion on end 26 of an epic battle to card a double with game against him to beat 14-year-old Ross Thomson of Mayfield, 21-19.

Goldenacre captured the scalp of the defending champions in the Pairs with Nicky Brown and Mark Hogg making a tremendous start to lead 12-0 then deal a 20-11 exit to Willie Scott and Darren McKenny of Pilrig.

More grief for Pilrig came in the Fours where their rink of Andy Tregoning, Peter Rogers, Ryan Gow and David Poole were comfortable at 12-7 but tumbled to a 16-12 defeat from a 1, 4, 4 finish from Duncan Cairns, Philip Lonie, Stewart Robertson and Ally McKenna.

The Headspeath clan of Jim Glen and Jamie thrilled their Hillside support with a double at the last to pip Larry Sorrell, Alan Nichol and Ross Wyllie of Wardie, 10-9.