An away defeat at the hands of Midlothian at Newbattle was not the best of starts to Edinburgh & Leith’s campaign in the East section of the Hamilton Trophy but debutant team manager Graham Pringle will take some encouraging positives from a 14-shot (121-107) setback.
His first experience of a Scottish Counties Championship battle had been plunged into a nightmare scenario as his team received a 53-22 battering over the opening seven ends.
The first-phase scoreboards spelled out the signs of a developing disaster across the six rinks – Paul Veitch 1, Ronnie Duncan 12; James Hogg 2, Colin Bonner 9; Richard Tough 6, Colin Walker 13; Darren Hush 2, Daniel McDougall 9; John McDermott 4, David Peacock 9; Paul O’Donnell 7, Scott Briggs 1.
However, E&L launched an inspired fightback that saw them capture the remaining two phases with scores of 44-33 and 41-35.
Veitch and his rink of Pringle, Gordon Bold and Alan Brown typified the E&L fightback having zipped from 10-1 down to cross into an 18-14 lead with the momentum including an exciting run of 1, 3, (1), 2, 1, 3, 3, 2, 2.
An incredible win was in their grasp at 21-19 up playing the last but the end result was a 21-21 peel with Duncan skipping Neil Murray, Kevin McDougall and Willie Rankin to a double.
Hogg remained against the collar but skipped Lewis Betts, Gordon Wilson Jnr and Neil Watson to a big 3, 4 finish in a 23-17 defeat from Jack Macnab, Ryan Yuill, David McGlynn and Bonner.
Tough and his front three of Daniel Gormley, John Priestley and Jamie Gracie never quite got to grips with their opponents and suffered a 26-15 defeat from Neil Linton, Lindsay Plenderleith, John Stevenson and Walker.
Hush and his rink of Liam McKay, Tam Ebbs and John Ramsay were restricted to counts at eight of the 21 ends so didn’t have much to shout about but damage-limitation tactics helped in a an 18-14 defeat from Mark Thorburn, Arron Clinkscales, Ramsay Blair and Danny McDougall.
McDermott benefited from a purple-patch spell of 2, 4, 2, 1 to skip Kevin Tennant, David Fisher and Rab Donaldson into an 18-16 lead but then slipped to a 22-19 defeat from Tom Moffat, Neil Gibson, Craig Hodge and Peacock.
O’Donnell won 15 of his 21 ends but was restricted to hard-earned single on 11 of them as he skipped Graham Eddington, Steven Pilley and Craig Paterson to a morale-boosting 21-11 win over Andrew Wilton, Steven Robertson, Colin Macfarlane and Briggs.