Slateford will carry the Edinburgh banner into next season’s Inter County Top Ten bowls tournament, having conjured up a magic recovery to snatch a 6-2 victory over Carrick Knowe in a thrilling climax to the local qualifying final at Dudley.
Robert Marshall has kept the Slateford name to the fore with his heroic efforts in singles play but even his presence didn’t stop recently crowned Edinburgh & Leith Top Five Singles Champions Carrick Knowe, who finished a whopping 26 points ahead of Slateford in winning the Water of Leith 1st Sixteens League, from coming into this final as favourites.
And the form-book looked to be working out when Carrick Knowe carved out a comfortable 13-6 lead in the Pairs and held most of the aces at 11-6 up in the Fours, as well as storming into a commanding 13-4 lead in the Triples.
The match picture did have a different complexion in the Singles but that was not unexpected, with Marshall playing the spearhead role for Slateford. The just-crowned Tait Trophy champion made life difficult for Carrick Knowe’s Richard Tough.
Marshall found his top gear at 5-4 down and motored to 12 with a run of 1, 3, 2, 2. Then, when Tough menaced him at 14-11, the 18-times Slateford champion made fresh space to 19 with a 3, 2 response and kept his club in the match with a 21-13 win in 20-ends.
Meanwhile, the Carrick Knowe trio of Stephen Pringle, Darren Hush and James Hogg had made a flying start to lead by nine shots and went on to beat Ronnie Ramsay, Rab Stewart and Graeme McAdam 18-13.
But the Slateford trio had helped the shot-margin cause with a mighty count of 5 on the tenth end and although it didn’t save them, it did have a major influence on team morale across the green.
Slateford duo Dougie Martin and Gordon Ramsay were in the doldrums at 13-6 down to Kevin Tennant and Colin Mitchell, but staged a spectacular escape to steal a 15-13 victory with a finish of 1, 1, 2, 1, 2, 2.
It was a nail-biting last-end victory that Slateford repeated in the Fours, where Alan Brash, Louis Beaton, John Ramsay and Scott Brunton had it all to do at 13-9 down to John Mitchell, Andy Blair, Craig Aitken and Johnny Priestley.
Dudley had turned into a cauldron of red-hot excitement and the drama reached its peak with Brunton and Co carding 1, 2, 1 to peels at 13 and then completing the great Slateford comeback with a three at the last to win 16-13.
“The script for this final surely belongs in the thriller section and the intense drama of the occasion made it a real pleasure for Slateford to emerge the stars of the show,” reflected Gordon Ramsay for champions.