Edinburgh & Leith remain undefeated after two fixtures in the East section of the Cities and Counties Bowling Championship, although they made hard work of overcoming Fife County at Thornton.
The Capital outfit only chalked up wins on two of their six rinks, but they battled to a narrow 114-109 victory to maintain their good start to this season’s campaign.
Weather conditions were less than favourable, but they were the same for both teams and the home side made life uncomfortable for the 2013 national champions with wins over the E&L rinks skipped by Mal Higgenbotham, Willie McDonald, Paul O’Donnell and Paul Veitch.
The saving graces for E&L were James Hogg and Robert Marshall, pictured below, whose combined efforts kept the visitors ahead on the major scoreboard for 20 of the 21 ends.
“We peaked at 14 shots up after 16-ends, but were fighting for our lives defending a single-shot lead going into the last end across the green,” said Edinburgh & Leith team manager Willie Watson. “It was a huge relief that we managed to scramble a win.”
The second end brought hope that E&L were on their toes with a 9-1 count thrusting them into a 13-shot lead. However a spectacular 12-1 retaliation from Fife on end 3 spelt out a warning to the visitors.
End 16 will be viewed by E&L as their game-changer, with an 8-1 count across the green accelerating their match lead from 7 to 14, a margin that helped boost the spirits of a team struggling to achieve a match-winning supremacy.
End 18 produced a moment of major drama and exceptional skill as O’Donnell – with Fife County pressing the game hard – conjured up a magic double-bowl take-out that earned him a single-shot reward that was vital at that juncture of the tie.
The phase analysis shows E&L digging in over the first seven-ends to contain its loss to 35-33 (-2), then inspired by a 5 for O’Donnell on end 8 to dominate the second, 45-31 (+14), before living dangerously with a 43-36 (-7) fright on the third.
Hogg also shone as he skipped Josh Spalding, Robert Donaldson and Darren Hush to a 16-shot win over Mike Comrie, highlighted by a six end finishing run from 16-9 to 25-9.
Marshall has started the campaign in great form and the E&L talisman impressed with a run of 2, 1, 4, 2 from 5-7 to 14-7 then enjoyed a later extended run of 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 1, 1 as he skipped Euan Craig, Gavin Smith and Jamie Gracie to a 22-13 win over Chris Stein.
Veitch and his rink of Daniel Gormley, David Fisher and John McDermott led going into the last end, but were pipped 21-19 by Gary Mackie.
O’Donnell and his front-three of Steven Pilley, George Kir, and Neil Watson got back to lead 15-14 from 10-2 down, but slipped to a 21-18 defeat from James Forbes.
McDonald went down to a 21-14 defeat from David Comrie, while Higgenbotham collapsed from 14-11 to a 24-16 defeat by Alan Pearson.