Tanfield draw on return to EBL top flight

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Tanfield made an encouraging return to the top flight of the Alpha Trophies Edinburgh Bowling League with the six times champions battling to a 4½-4½ share of the points in a tough opening encounter away to Queensberry.

Queensberry were last season’s Division 1 shock troops pushing eventual champions Parkside all the way to finish in a best ever second place so, with home advantage, they would have hoped to achieve a winning start against an opposition promoted from Division 2.

But Tanfield had gained promotion as clear cut champions of the lower division and, backed up by a proud history, the one time five-in-a row giants of Division 1 are itching to signal that their injured pride was only temporary.

“One swallow doesn’t make a summer and our next test is against record holding seven times champions Craigentinny so the fixture list is giving us a hot welcome back to Division 1 but the Tanfield camp is encouraged by a strong show at Queensberry,” reflected spokesman Robert White.

‘Wee Bob’ himself made a major contribution not least in the shape of producing a spectacular 3, 5 finish to steal a half share of the bonus point as the outcome of a match aggregate score of 67-67.

White was also instrumental in bagging two win points, and in inspirational fashion, as he skipped Stuart McKean, Peter Findlay and Charlie McLaren into an 11-2 lead then responded to intense pressure at 14-12 to beat Ryan Gardner, Mike Imrie Snr, Allan Watson and Scott Walker, 22-12.

Andy McNab was also a hero for the visitors with the former champion of Dean staging a bold recovery from 7-13 to skip James Smith, Alex Thompson and Derek McLean to a 16-14 win over Paul Manson, Paul Dickson, Mick Imrie Jnr and John Kidd.

Queensberry had started like a house on fire across the green and none more so than Frank O’Reilly who blazed an 11-1 trail after five ends and although dampened down from 17-8 onwards held on to skip Gavin Ramsay, Brian Larkin and Jordan Davidson to a 19-16 win over Neil Hunter, Graeme Swan, Liam McKay and David Snodgrass.

Brian Pollard added win number two for the home side, and must have thought that his majestic 4, 5 finish was sure to be a bonus point clincher, as he skipped Paul Kirkland, Jim McDougall and Tam Ebbs to a 22-13 triumph over Calum Munro, Willie Paul, Ian Duffus and Stuart Campbell.