E&L’s Hamilton Trophy hopes all but over after home defeat

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Edinburgh & Leith’s failure to beat Borders on home soil at Craigentinny ended any prospects the 2013 national champions had of reaching the knockout stage of the 2017 Hamilton Trophy.

The Capital elite, fresh from inflicting a first defeat on defending champions East Lothian, fell 134-116 to a Borders team recording only their second win in five.

E&L’s own record in the eight-team section now also reads two wins out of five and that leaves them languishing in sixth place and, with just two games to play, some six and four points off the pace being set by Midlothian and East Lothian respectively.

Wins on two rinks – skipped by Jamie Gracie and James Hogg – was the best E&L could muster with John McDermott salvaging a peel. Paul O’Donnell, Richard Tough and team captain David Fisher all lost.

One positive highlight on an opening phase lost 39-44 was James Hogg making a strong 13-4 contribution. However, David Fisher was guddled 4-12 then a similar punishment was inflicted upon Richard Tough in an overall second-phase beating.

Jamie Gracie perked up the flagging spirits of the home side with an 11-2 but his fellow skips floundered.

Fisher and his crew of Lewis Betts, John Priestley and Gordon Bold only netted counts at 8 of the 21 ends and sunk to a heavy 33-16 defeat from Ross Nicol.

Tough and his front three – Liam McKay, Andy McNab, and Stephen Pringle – lost 23-13 to Steve Richardson.

O’Donnell had Steven Pilley, Tam Ebbs and Craig Paterson in touch at 19-17 down with two ends to play but had to settle for a 24-19 defeat by Stuart Bebington.

McDermott collapsed from 12-10 up to 22-12 down ut rallied well to skip Kevin Tennant, Ross Noble and Robert Donaldson to a 22-22 share with Ian Crawford.

Gracie zipped from 7-11 down to skip Euan Craig, John Kidd and Alan Brown to a 23-15 win over Graeme Forsyth while Hogg led 12-3 then skipped Gordon Wilson, Ross Byers and Neil Watson to a 23-17 win over Stuart White.