The climax of the Bowls Scotland National Championships at Ayr Northfield brought one crowning glory for the large travelling Edinburgh support, with Pilrig capturing the Gents Pairs title.
The two heros were 35-year-old Leith postman Darren McKenny and 28-year-old NHS accountancy administrator Chris Steven, who ended their five round campaign with wins over Law in the semi finals and Hyndland in the final.
The last time the Pairs crown came to the District 11 part of the Capital’s bowling scene was back in 1992 when Craigentinny was the successful club. Carrick Knowe won it for District 12 in 2008 and Gorgie Mills in 1999.
“We are thrilled to bits by our success and the bonus it brings is representing the Scotland banner in next years British Isles Championships to be held in Dublin no less,” echoed the champion duo.
The West Lothian challenge in the Gents disciplines were all wiped out by the second round. However, area pride was saved by the magnificent efforts of Lorna Smith (Linlithgow) and Angela Uttley (Blackburn) reaching the final of the Ladies Singles.
Smith, a former World No. 1 and a Gold Medal winner for her native South Africa in the Commonwealth Games and World Championships, beat her neighbour and international colleague in a dramatic 21-20 encounter that entertained the banking for 28 ends.
“The result could have gone either way and Angela certainly came close to etching her name on the trophy but for myself well as you say in Scotland I am chuffed,” said an elated Smith.
Smith’s success was achieved in controversial circumstance, as it seems she has failed to adopt other Scottish Cultures deemed to be of major importance in team selection as she has failed to make the Top Five for the World Championships in Adelaide later this year.
East Lothian also failed to feature in any of the gent’s finals but their ladies also came to the rescue of a proud banner with sisters Leanne and Lauren Baillie of Cockenzie & Port Seton capturing the Pairs title for an impressive third time.
The ladies of London Road Foundry did the Edinburgh banner proud by reaching the final of the Fours where defeat from Thurso was no disgrace while in the gents Junior Singles a bold campaign by Nicky Brown of Leith ended with his exit in the semi finals.
Alex Marshall MBE was a huge box office figure for these championships so there was great disappointment all round when in company with his Gifford colleague David Sked, they made an extra end exit in the semi final of the Pairs.
And they were joined on the sidelines at the same stage by the West Barns Triple of Kevin Thomson, Callum Gordon and Alister Kennedy.
The demise of high profile Edinburgh challengers Robert Marshall and Gary Muir in the quarterfinals of the gents Singles caused their support to switch allegiance to Alistair White of Kelso – son of 1968 Tait Trophy Champion Roy of Goldenacre.
White the elder captured the National singles crown for Border in 1973 at the age of 29 and at the age of 37, White the younger became the 2012 champion with a 21-10 win over Kevin Bain of Hyndland.
And in doing so, he may have make a bit of history as the only father and son winners of the Scottish Singles. Mel Muirhead lost the 1964 final, while son Frazer won it in 1981 and Willie E Wood won it in 1967. His son, Willie, lost the 1970/98/04 finals.
Meanwhile Pilrig’s 17-11 win over Alister Greer and Callum Taggart of Hyndland in the final of the Pairs was highlighted by purple patch spell of 2, 1, 5, (1), 4 that transformed their scorecard from 5-4 down to 16-6 up after 12 of the 17 ends.
Pilrig faced a hold of 4 shots against them on the 10th end but McKenny smacked the jack into the ditch with a spectacular drive for a 5 shot conversion then two ends later excellent build up play from Steven paved the way for a count of 4.
“When you convert 4 against into 5 for to go 12-5 up instead of 9-7 down the thought does enter your head that our name might be on the cup so your confidence rises.” reflected Steven.