O’Donnell’s on fire as burning-jack tactics help rink edge thrilling Bainfield IBC Fours

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PAUL O’DONNELL was the hero in an exhilarating final of the gents’ Fours championship at Bainfield IBC, with the 26-year-old skipping fellow stars Craig Moss, Craig Paterson and Robert Marshall to the title.

Burnt-end drama was a fitting climax to a spectacular battle that had lived up to pre-match expectations, as the final was a clash of the titans with fellow big-hitters Chris Downie, John McDermott, Colin Hutchison and Gavin Smith on display.

O’Donnell and Co earned an 11-9 edge after 12 ends but that lead was endangered when Smith held three shots at the next. O’Donnell, however, coped with the pressure and killed the lot with a stunning draw that moved him to 12.

Having dominated the build-up of the head at the 13th end without reward, Smith and Co produced a replica of that domination on the 14th but this time managed to card a count of three that left the scores tied at 12-12 entering the last.

The build-up of the now crucial head once again favoured Smith and his front three, however O’Donnell denied them the title by burning the jack with a rocket-like destroyer that exploded on its target in thrilling style.

The replay of the 15th and final end saw Smith and Co once again enjoying the best of the exchanges. The title was once more in their grasp but O’Donnell stole it from them with yet another well-judged conversion that yielded him a single and a 13-12 victory.

The final of the ladies’ Junior Singles saw another O’Donnell climb the champion’s rostrum, with Paul’s sister Mandy beating Hazel Crombie 21-12.

The final of the Under-13s Singles was given an extra dimension with twins Mark and Greg Walker going head-to-head and it was Mark’s night, winning 21-16.

Tonight’s finals (at the Hutchison Crossway Stadium): Craig Moss v Paul Millar (Singles); Mandy O’Donnell v Anne Watson (Singles); Neil Watson v Jamie McIntosh (Junior Singles); Willie McIntosh v Les Nicholson (Senior Singles); and Greg Walker v Mark McIntosh (Under-17 singles)