Bowls: No joy for city bowlers at the national finals

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The Edinburgh challenge in the playdown action of the men’s national indoor bowls singles championship at Abbeyview, Dunfermline, didn’t last long with Paul O’Donnell and Ian Fleming both making early exits.

And the wider Lothian challenge also failed to excite as, with the exception of bowls legend Willie Wood, there were early departures for George Sneddon, Ewan Shearer and Colin Walker.

O’Donnell, 25, from the Bainfield club, made an encouraging start to beat Ross Elliot of Galleon 21-19 in the prelim round.

It was a real ding-dong affair that looked to be taking a turn for the worst when Elliot added 2, 2 to cross 17-14 but O’Donnell showed he could handle the pressure with a 1, 1 finish from peels at 19.

O’Donnell’s opposition in the first round proper came in the shape of 73-year-old Willie Wood who had dominated his prelim match to beat Mark Davidson of Inverness, 21-12.

O’Donnell more than held his own in the opening exchanges but the East Lothian veteran produced a 3 to lead 19-16 then answered the loss of a single with a double to 21.

Wood – runner up under the Edinburgh IBC banner back in 1987 – then faced fellow cap Iain McLean of Blantyre, who was national champion in 2007, in the second round.

Wood made an excellent start to lead 15-7 but McLean peeled him with a run of 1, 1, 4, 1, 1. Wood scored 3, 1 reply to 19 before losing to a 1, 3 2 finish.

Ian Fleming treated his Portobello support to a good 21-9 win over Lee Collins of Garioch in the prelim round then thrilled them with a run of 3, 2, 1, 1, 3 to cross Graham Alexander of Turriff, 15-12 in the first round proper. However, Alexander hit back with a 3, 2, 1, 2, 1 finish.

Colin Walker’s hopes of title compensation for losing in two previous finals failed to materialise as his opening 21-15 win over Kenny Johnstone of Tweedbank was followed by a 21-12 defeat from Martin McCauley of Falkirk.

George Sneddon crashed to a 21-5 defeat from host club champion Stuart Pagan in the prelim round and the West Lothian challenger was joined on the sidelines by Ewan Shearer of Balbardie who lost 21-10 to Jim Byron of Cumbernauld.