Bowls: Spalding targets Portobello crown

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Portobello is set to crown a new indoor bowls gents singles champion following this week’s quarter-final defeat of title-holder Ian Fleming at the hands of teenager Josh Spalding.

Fleming hoped to have his name etched into the domestic silverware for the third season in a row and looked set to keep his hopes alive when recovering from 7-4 down to peel at 7 then move into a 10-8 lead with two ends remaining.

But a count of 3 from Spalding, followed by last-end drama, saw the talented 18-year old edge a single to clinch a 12-10 victory.

Spalding, who reached the final of the national outdoor junior singles under the Craigentinny banner in 2011, now faces 21-year old Kerr McKail.

Gordon Bold, a previous runner-up, reached the other semi-final after winning a 15-10 
battle with Andrew Caldwell and now meets 17-year-old Dean Mackintosh.

The early stages of the singles championship at Portobello has been restricted to a match time of 70 minutes or 15 shots, 
although it is understood that the semi-final times are extended to two hours and the final itself to the traditional 21 shots.

The domestic action at Midlothian IBC this week included a 21-15 victory for defending ladies singles champion 
Sandra McLeish as she booked her place back in the final at the expense of Jeanette Conlan.

McLeish stole a 14-5 march on Conlan, but came under intense pressure at 14-14 before accelerating to 21.

The final takes place at the Dalkeith stadium this Saturday at 2pm, with McLeish defending her title against Shona Johnstone, who edged out Kelly McDougall in a thriller.

Top of the bill at Midlothian IBC this weekend is the gents’ singles clash between international colleagues Colin Walker (holder) and Ronnie Duncan at 2pm on Sunday.

Meanwhile, The flagship Annual Sportsman’s Dinner of the Edinburgh Bowling League at the Masonic Club, Shrubhill Lane, tomorrow night is being well supported by the 38 member clubs but late bookings are still being accepted.

Tickets, £20, are available through organiser Alistair Wilkie on 07889 931 054.