Tait Trophy drama at Colinton last night saw former world stage star David McGill carry the Braid banner into the third round of the E&L Champion of Champions after clinching a 21-20 victory over Robert Donaldson of Parkside.
The match of the night developed into a cracking encounter that lasted 25 ends with the final result always until McGill came from 20-18 down to hit 21 with a count of 3.
Donaldson – a finalist in 2009 and Tait champion in 2010 – made the early running to lead 6-2 then found himself being tested when McGill settled to a rhythm that saw him cross 10-7 with a run of 2, 2, 2, 1, (1) 1.
The 37-year-old Parkside champion sparked a revival with a single and a four to regain the upper-hand at 13-10 then a ding-dong exchange over the next four ends saw him crossed 14-13 before pushing forward to 16-15 with the help of a 3.
The next end – No. 20 – was as a game changer, with Donaldson holding 3 shots and drawing for a 4 to 20 but left mortified when he snicked the jack and reduced his final count to 2 shots.
“I would have been 20-15 up but 18-15 was much less of a menace to David and he rubbed salt in my wound by carding a 2 to 17,” said Donaldson.
McGill, famous in his hey-day for his coolness under pressure, was gifted an opportunity on end 25 when Donaldson struggled on his own long jack and was severely punished by the Braid champion stealing in for 3 shots and the game.
“I was hanging onto Robert’s coat-tails at one stage and only managed to do so with a couple of productive hits but his misfortune on end 20 and failure to nail end 25 cost him dear,” reflected McGill, a five times winner of the Tait.
Carrick Knowe champion Colin Mitchell is also chasing a sixth Tait title and the 39-year-old turned in a strong performance at Bainfield to score a 21-13 win over David Fisher of Colinton, clinching his victory with a magic count of 3.
Slateford king-pin Robert Marshall is the Tait holder and the 48-year-old entered the fray with a comfortable 21-14 win over John Carlin of Lutton Place in 19 ends at Pilrig.
Other results: T Ebbs (Queensberry) 21, B Kenny (Ardmillan) 8; C Paterson (Bainfield) 21, I Sommerville (Tipperlinn) 19; G McNab (Dean) 21, H Haig (Portobello) 8; K Jamieson (Gorgie Mills) 21, A McKenzie (Brunstane) 13; K Rutherford (Beechwood) 21, G McAdam (Juniper Green) 19.
Meanwhile, twice national champions Slateford stepped up their bid to capture the Edinburgh Top Ten title for a sixth time with a 6-2 win over Colinton in their semi-final clash at Maitland.