Hurry made to work hard for District 15 semi place

Darren Hush, pictured, will meet Alex Hurry in the last four
Darren Hush, pictured, will meet Alex Hurry in the last four
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ALEX HURRY JNR survived a 27-end marathon Singles tie against Donald Brown of Merchiston before the 37-year-old Parkside champion reached the District 15 semi-finals of the national championship.

Hurry – a District champion in 2004, going on to lose a 21-19 thriller to subsequent title winner Paul Foster in the semi-finals at Ayr Northfield – lined up against Brown at West End BC and made a strong start as he breezed into a 9-2 lead.

The 2003 City of Edinburgh Open champion maintained his supremacy at 15-8. However, six ends later, the outcome was in the melting pot at 17-17.

Brown had recovered to 12 with a run of 1, 1, 2, then the experienced Merchiston champion answered the loss of a double with a 3, 2 reply that brought Hurry under unexpected pressure.

Hurry edged three singles on the trot to appear back in charge at 20-17 but Brown put the cat among the pigeons with a three-singles fightback to 20-20 then lay for game on end 27.

The climax saw Hurry deliver a perfectly-judged ‘chap and lie’ to trigger the victory salute.

The path to the national finals stage at Ayr is, of course, strewn with obstacles and Hurry’s next one in the semi-finals comes in the shape of Darren Hush.

Hush – who brought the first-ever national crown to Carrick Knowe when partnering James Hogg to the Pairs title in 2008 – was in cracking form to convert a 12-3 lead into a 21-6 victory over Dean Fleming of Currie in 16 ends at Sighthill.

Keith Gellaitry was the underdog at Carrick Knowe against Sighthill ace John McDermott but the West End champion upset the apple cart with a strong performance to edge a 21-19 thriller in 25 ends.

Gellaitry made the early running to race into a 9-3 lead then continued to dominate McDermott with leads of 17-8 and 18-10. However, the next three ends saw the Sighthill champion back in business having crossed to 19-18.

McDermott’s revival came with an explosive run of 3, 3, 3 but Gellaitry took these blows to the chin then counterpunched with a hat-trick of singles to 21.

Gorgie Mills champion Colin Hay also packed a strong finishing punch at Parkside where he was under real pressure at 16-13 down and found an explosive 1, 4, 1, 1, 1 answer to celebrate a 21-16 win over Derek Mitchell of Fountain Brewery.

Meanwhile, the District 14 quarter-finals of the Singles saw Postal champion Christian Berra continue to impress as he delivered a 21-7 victory from a strong performance against Gordon Clark of Maitland at Northern.

George Johnston carried the Brunstane banner into the semi-finals with a 21-17 win over Euan Craig of Pilrig at Goldenacre, having looked a goner at 17-14 down but escaping to victory with a big 3, 1, 2, 1 finish.

Scott Mackintosh – national finalist in 2009 – picked up from 1-4 to 11-5 then from 11-11 as the champion of London Road Foundry kicked on to score a 21-14 win over Mark Hogg of Goldenacre.

Willowbrae champion Craig Duffus settled to the pace of Leith much better than his opponent and scored an unexpected runaway 21-4 victory over Fred O’Reilly of Queensberry.