Slateford bowler Robert Marshall contested the final of the national singles in 2010 and the 48-year-old is back on the same trail having reached his District 12 final with a scintillating 21-13 win over Brian Wilson of Fountain Brewery at Parkside last night.
Parkside and Mayfield were the venues for the semi-finals and Marshall was the top attraction at the former, and he treated the assembled crowd to a piece of his magic talents by conjuring up a powerful 2, 2, 2 finish in answer to pressure at 15-13.
Marshall – a 17 times champion of his club and four times winner of The Tait Trophy – is one of Edinburgh’s great exponents of singles play and he will be going for an eighth success in the District singles when lining up in next week’s final.
His opposition at Sighthill on Tuesday night comes in the shape of 43-year-old Parkside champion Halley Cockburn, who was in terrific form at Mayfield to upset the odds by capturing the scalp of Jamie Gracie 21-18 in 23 ends.
Gracie was bidding to make an appearance in the final in front of his own support and the former Edinburgh Open Champion looked on course to do so when leading 16-13 but Cockburn transformed that picture with a run of 2, 3, 2 to 20.
Dean Fleming of Currie led 10-2 but still had it all to do at 14-13 down in the Junior Singles but served up a hot-streak finishing run of 3, 1, 1, 1, 2 to beat Michael Ewing of Gorgie Mills, 21-14.
Stephen Pringle of Carrick Knowe started a hot favourite in the other semi-final but was being well held at 14-14 before making telling space to 19 with 1, 4 then cashing in to beat Brandon Maywood of Parkside, 21-18 in 24 ends.
Bainfield duo Scott Cumming and Stuart Clark stole a march to lead Stephen Kirk and Malcolm Weir of Whitehouse & Grange, 12-3 in the Pairs then answered growing menace at 12-10 to win 16-10.
West End produced the shock of the night in the other semi-final with Donny Gilbertson and Moray Tait dashing into a 9-2 lead then, trading well on the cushion, delivered a 16-10 exit to hot pots Alex Hurry and Paul Veitch of Parkside.
Colinton trio Ewan Gibson, John Fisher and David Fisher led 9-1 and beat Keith Rutherford, Rab Swan and Kevin Prior of Beechwood 19-8 in the Triples but the other semi was less clear cut and ended in intense drama.
The last bowl had been played and the Bainfield trio of Peter Ramsay, David McNair and Steven Pilley had their hands outstretched to congratulate Rab Douglas, Alan Nicholls and Mike Haldane on a 17-16 victory.
It was 16-16 and Balerno held the winning shot by a fraction, however the Bainfield bowl tipped over to steal the shot and the victory from a shell-shocked opposition.
Whitehouse & Grange finished 2, 2, 1 to edge a 15-14 thriller over Mayfield in the Fours while Sighthill eventually held all the aces to beat Slateford, 20-12.