Bowls: Marshall leaves rival at low Ebbs

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Tait Trophy holder Robert Marshall will contest the final of Edinburgh & Leith’s showpiece Champion of Champions event after entertaining last night’s crowd at Corstorphine BC with a thrilling semi final victory over Tam Ebbs of Queensberry.

Their 27-end battle was a real crowd-pleaser with the outcome hanging in the balance at 17-17 before 48-year-old Marshall dealt expertly with the business zone of singles play to card four singles for a 21-17 win.

Marshall – 18 times champion of Slateford BC – had his hands full with the challenge of Ebbs over a high-quality opening 12-ends that saw the match finely balanced at 8-8. The next three ends had the crowd on the edge of their seats with Marshall first edging a single then demonstrating his deadly striking power by cleaning out a hold of 4 against him for a single-shot conversion.

Marshall then seized control with a count of 4 to lead 14-8, but the Queensberry champion showed great spirit with a 1, 2, 1, 1 revival to get himself back in touch at 13-14. More drama came with Marshall leading 
17-13 but facing a 4 against him before killing three of them with another fierce strike. Ebbs didn’t let that blow stun him on this occasion as he then added a 3 to bring the match to boiling point at 17-17. Marshall can find extra gears in such situations and was forced to do so to keep Ebbs at bay with his four hard fought singles for the match including having to ditch the jack for the one that took him to 20.

“I congratulate Robert for winning what we both thought was a brilliant game but I am hurting at the moment as this level is new to me and I am thinking of the two massive hits that damaged me plus I am 
disappointed at the quality of my lead bowl on occasions,” said Ebbs.

Ebbs, 40, can be immensely satisfied that his performances in the Tait have propelled him into the limelight of the Capital’s competitive bowling scene.

Meanwhile David McGill of Braid served up a strong display to beat Keith Rutherford of Beechwood 21-14 in the other semi-final, having blazed a 12-0 trail over the opening five ends.

Rutherford, a first-time club champion, said: “I persisted with the wrong choice of hand at the start and was punished for it but to reach the semi-final of the Tait and play against a legend of the sport has been a fantasy world for me and I have loved it.”