Edinburgh & Leith shine but win unlikely to be enough

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Edinburgh & Leith’s impressive 130-97 away win over West Fife at Dunfermline West End was their third success in six but is unlikely to snatch the second qualifying place in the East section of the Hamilton Trophy.

E&L, who face second-placed West Lothian at Parkside next, sit six points adrift of undefeated table toppers Midlothian but only a less daunting two behind this weekend’s opponents and East Lothian. However, shot margins deficits of 102 and 49 would need a miracle to overhaul.

Wins on five rinks – skipped by James Hogg, Paul Veitch, Paul O’Donnell, Jamie Gracie and John McDermott – reflected a strong team performance against West Fife with the only setback suffered by Richard Tough.

McDermott set the scene for an inspiring 47-30 first-phase domination with an 11-3 contribution that was well supported by Hogg (8-1), Veitch (9-3) and Gracie (8-2). Not so good were the 11-4 and 10-7 setbacks for Tough and O’Donnell.

West Fife showed improvement on the second phase and it took a 10-2 input from Veitch to shore up an E&L supremacy of 43-35 while a 12-3 from O’Donnell was the major component of the visitors bagging the third 40-32.

Hogg made strong headway over the first 12 ends to skip Craig Aitken, Andy McNab and Gordon Wilson Jnr into a 16-5 lead and the former Scotland cap traded steadily to deliver a 26-13 win over Paul Brown.

Veitch led 7-1 then a later purple patch run of 3, 1, 3, 1, 2 saw him skip Lewis Betts, Steven Kirk and Alan Brown into a 19-5 lead that he converted into a 24-12 win over Kenny Bald.

O’Donnell was asked a question at 16-15 that he answered with an assertive 1, 5, 2, 2 reply to skip Graeme Eddington, Tam Ebbs and Craig Paterson to a 26-16 win over Jim McGuire.

Gracie made steady progress to skip Euan Craig, John Kidd and Gordon Bold into an 11-3 lead then from 16-11 produced a 1, 1, 2 finish to beat Rab McFarlane 20-11.

McDermott and his rink of Kevin Tenant, Ross Noble, and Robert Donaldson led 11-0 but ended up hard pressed to cross the line with a 21-18 win over David Junor.

Tough and his front three of Liam McKay, Ross Thompson and Stephen Pringle lost 27-13 to Craig Watson.