Victory at Pilrig gives club outside chance of survival

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The relegation battle between Pilrig and Hillside in Division 1 was the only Edinburgh Bowling League fixture to survive as the heavy rain took its toll on the Capital’s bowling greens last night.

“We did play through a light drizzle but our green was free of surface water so our game went ahead,” said Pilrig spokesman John Geddes.

The victory for Hillside, known as “the great survivors”, was good for morale, but they still occupy the bottom rung of the league table despite putting up a good show to beat their hosts 5-4. However, it will still take miracle for them to survive the drop. Their next fixture is winnable – at home to Wardie – but they then face three-in-a row defending champions 
Craigentinny.

Wins for the rinks skipped by Gary Muir and Colin Hairs helped capture the bonus point for Hillside with a match 
aggregate of 65-61, while 
success for Scott Noble and Euan Craig kept Pilrig in the picture.

“We would have wished for a better outcome at home but the four points are still very valuable in our fight to stay out of the bottom two,” added Geddes.

Muir was the star figure of the night with the 26-year-old Singles champion of District 11 benefiting from two late counts of 4 to skip Brian Muir, Adam Boath and Colin Bell to a 22-10 win over Darren McKenny.

Hairs – formerly of LRF and Willowbrae – might not be the answer that Hillside need but the 2000 Edinburgh Open 
finalist was influential with a 
5, 3, 1 run to lead 9-1 then skipped David Palfrey, John Newall and Jamie Headspeath to a 16-11 win over Gavin Smith.

Noble was the high-flyer for Pilrig having zipped into a 13-2 lead then included a super count of 6 as he skipped John Craig, Paul Barclay and Gavin Rogers to a 25-13 win over BJ Smith.

Craig became engaged in a ding-dong battle with Brian Irving but landed a late 1, 2 to skip Darren McCardle, Jimmy McKenny and John Geddes to a thrilling 15-14 victory.

Meanwhile, West Lothian’s growing romance with the Cities & Counties Championship, for the Hamilton Trophy, came to a disappointing end when the title favourites where given the old heave-ho by 
Lanarkshire South in the 
semi-final match played at Chryston & District in Glasgow.

Lanarkshire South – whose impressive title success includes recent wins in 2006, 2008, 2010 – were always 
going to be the toughest of 
opposition and so it proved as they led WL from start to finish and having peaked at 35 up won by 121-111.

Wins on three rinks – skipped by team captain Raymond Logan, Tommy Mann and Grant Logan – plus a peel for Neil Speirs makes good reading for WL but their input was destroyed by a setback for Steven Fleming and a catastrophic hammering sustained by John Aitken. The sadly disappointing 37-7 defeat of Aitken and his front three of Ewan Shearer, Sandy McDougall and Calum Logan at the hands of a rampant Ian Campbell tells the story – but even so WL did come close to achieving a miracle.

“We managed to reduce our deficit to single figures in the closing stages of the match and held potential big counts on two heads that would have taken us into the lead but Lady Luck sided with the Lanarkshire skips and it was all over for us,” said team manager Jimmy Mallon.

The final rink scores were: R Logan 26, J Simpson 9; T Mann 25, D Gardner 18; G Logan 18, R Grant 17; N Speirs 21, S Forrest 21; S Fleming 14, J Meikle 19; J Aitken 7, I Campbell 37.

Lanarkshire South play Edinburgh & Leith in the final at Montrose this Saturday.