Tait Trophy holder Scott Mackintosh of London Road Foundry continued his defence of Edinburgh’s premier singles trophy with a sterling performance to beat Mal Higgenbotham of Tanfield in last night’s semi-finals at Mayfield.
Mackintosh edged the 27-end battle in thrilling fashion with a spectacular double-bowl take out to clinch a 21-19 victory over the two-time champion.
“Mal is a tough customer to beat. When I was 20-19 he was holding the two shots for the game until I pinched it from him with my last-bowl conversion,” reflected Mackintosh.
The conversion resulted in Mackintosh’s bowl cannoning both Higgenbotham’s potential match-winners out of the head.
Higgenbotham did have one last chance to produce a game-saver, but although his final delivery was perfectly weighted, his bowl hung wide.
Mackintosh had raced into a commanding 11-3 lead after ten ends, but a wayward opening bowl at the next was severely punished as it allowed Higgenbotham to dominate the head and card a maximum four.
Higgenbotham then introduced a short-mat tactic that paid him a huge dividend in an extended run of 1, 1, 2, 1, 1, 1, 1 that accelerated him into the lead at 15-11. And the run was set to continue with a hold of one shot at the next. But Mackintosh burnt the head in attempting a ‘chap and lie’ and it brought a change of fortune as he carded a two to 13 on the replay then added successive singles to peel at 15. Higgenbotham carded a single to 16 then was back under pressure at 19-16 down but set up an exciting climax with a superb close cluster count of three.
The second semi-final lasted 25 ends with Darren Hush of Carrick Knowe having to use some heavy artillery to keep Grant Wilson of Juniper Green at bay and win 21-17.
“Grant’s drawing skills were both accurate and consistent and that meant I was operating on the back-foot for virtually the entire game,” said Hush.
Wilson made the first significant break with counts of three and two that stretched him into a 13-7 lead, but Hush got himself back into the picture with a reply of 2, 1, 3 to peel at 13.
“The three to 13 was the game-changing moment for me as I pinged the shot bowl against me through an almost impossible gap,” added Hush.
Wilson answered with a double to 15 but the battle for supremacy raged on with peels called at 16-16 then, at 18-17 up, Hush finally tipped the scales with a 2, 1 finish to 21.