Bowls: Ranking holds nerve to give Musselburgh Top Ten win

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Willie Rankin was the ace in the pack for Musselburgh as the Midlothian bowls champions turned up trumps with a thrilling 6-2 away win over their Glasgow counterparts Croftfoot in the prelim round of the Inter County Top Ten sponsored by The Co-operative Funeralcare.

Rankin faced the prospect of defeat at 20-19 down and game against him in the Singles but the veteran served up a delicious take out conversion that earned him 2 shots and a 21-20 victory.

It was a victory that inspired two more dramatic wins starting with Scott Reid and Jocky Miller in the Pairs who hit back from 9-0 down to snatch a 17-16 triumph when Miller conjured up a magic last bowl trail for 2.

The visiting Triple of Derek Mooney, Brian Martin and Stephen Robertson also produced a miracle recovery, coming from 10-0 down to edge a 13-12 thriller that secured Musselburgh’s place in the first round proper.

Aberlady carried the East Lothian banner into the first round proper with a 6-2 home win over far travelled New Deer of Buchan County, shrugging off the shock 21-3 defeat of Jim Pringle in the Singles.

Meanwhile, last night’s action in the opening play of the Edinburgh District 11 Scottish Championships saw 2009 national finalist Scott Mackintosh progress with a 21-16 win over Dave Hawthorn of Blackhall at Pilrig in the Singles.

Mackintosh, a 12 times club champion at London Road Foundry, was tied at 15-15 but produced a 3, 1, (1), 2 finish to triumph in 22 ends.

Andrew Caldwell is flying the flag for Craigentinny and with the national Junior Singles (2005) and Triples (2011) titles already on his CV the 26-year-old is a serious contender in the Singles. So it was doom and gloom at 9-0 down to Max Scott of Ferranti at Dudley last night, however Caldwell crossed 10-9 then rallied for a second time to win 21-15 in 21 ends.

Stan Christie of Northern, a double winner of the Edinburgh Open at Balgreen in his younger days, staged a spectacular fight back from 7-17 to beat Brian Combe of Wardie 21-19 at Ferranti. But former glory did nothing to help John Geddes of Pilrig with the 1984 national junior singles finalist bowing out to a strong 1, 3, 4 finish from Davy Scott of Niddrie at Leith.

Other results: Brian Duffus (Tramways) 21, Stuart Robertson (Seafield) 17; Ian Kent (Dudley) 21, Sinclair Campbell (Trinity) 17; James McDonagh (Maitland) 21, Robert Wood (Leith) 6; Malcolm Thom (Portobello) 21, George Langlands (Brunstane) 2; Andy Sneddon (Tanfield) 21, Christian Berra (Postal) 9.