Maitland have hit the front entering the final four-match straight in the race for the Division 1 title of the Alpha Trophies-sponsored Edinburgh Bowling League after a 6-3 home win over chief rivals Craigentinny.
Seven-times winners Craigentinny arrived defending a slender half-point lead over their opponents but now face a thrilling climax to a three-horse race involving them, Maitland and defending champions Parkside.
Good double-figure wins for Alan Trotter and Gary Stout combined to capture the bonus point for a Maitland team that came close to achieving a 7-2 win over Craigentinny but were denied a third win when Daniel Gormley carded a single at the last to clinch a 15-15 peel with Allan Smith.
Trotter had set the Maitland greenside alight with a scorching start to lead 14-0 then remained hot to skip George Trotter, Billy Clark and Jim Robertson to a 23-6 win over Scott Rogers.
Stout skipped Ryan Taylor, Stuart Clark and Gordon Clark to a 22-6 win, having raced into a 16-2 lead over Andy Caldwell. However, Graeme McIntosh suffered a punishing 22-10 defeat from Andrew Jeffrey.
Parkside sit six points behind the leaders in third place having won 5-4 at Queensberry. Rink scores were: Queensberry v Parkside: Jordan Davidson 18, Paul Veitch 12; Brian Pollard 12, Kevin Boyd 11; Frank O’Reilly 10. Robert Donaldson 15; Scott Walker 7. Neil Watson 20.
Tanfield won’t be adding the Division 1 title to last season’s triumph in Division 2 but the six-times champions’ 7-2 victory at home to Pilrig keeps them in mid-table. Rink scores: Robert White 14, Graeme Gow 11; Stuart Campbell 22, Darren McKenny 16; Liam McKay 21, Euan Craig 10; Mal Higgenbotham 11, Darren McCardle 12.
Pilrig, who came up with Tanfield, are doomed to a quick return to Division 2 but who will join them is a battle for survival involving Queensberry, Northern and Hillside.
Northern entertained Hillside in this week’s fixtures and their 5-4 win keeps both clubs ahead of Queensberry but the battle to avoid joining Pilrig in the relegation zone looks likely to go right down to the wire. Northern v Hillside rink scores: John Barr 20, BJ Smith 12; Gordon Wilson Jnr 25, Colin Hairs 9; Andy Reid 17, Dougie Robinson 18; Davy Scott 9, Colin Bell 21.
Division 1 positions: Maitland 59½; Craigentinny 57; Parkside 53½; Tandfield 47; Hillside 45; Northern 40½; Queensberry 38½; Pilrig 19.