Christian Berra into national title semi-finals

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Postal champion Christian Berra – father of former Hearts star Christophe – is bidding for national title glory in the District 14 finals of the Scottish Bowling Championships.

He produced a late fight back and last-gasp win against Jamie Gunn of Brunstane to reach tonight’s Singles semi-finals at Queensberry BC.

He was 11-0 down and Gunn continued to fire with leads of 15-5, 18-7 and 19-12. Gunn added a single to 20 meaning it was death or glory for Berra – and it proved to be the latter following a 4, 2 finish.

The road to the national finals at Ayr Northfield is a hard one to travel and the hurdle that looms up next for Berra is two-in-a row Tait Trophy champion Scott Mackintosh of London Road Foundry.

Mackintosh – national finalist in 2009 – almost came a cropper in his semi-final but in another 21-20 thriller he managed to conjure up a magic double on the 23rd end to win an epic head-to-head battle with Craig Duffus of Willowbrae.

A close call had not looked in the offing when the vastly experienced Macintosh blazed into a 9-1 lead, that pace wasn’t sustained but the LRF icon figure still looked comfortably in the driving seat at 13-6, then 16-9.

Duffus thrilled the banking with a run of 1, 2, 3 that brought him bang into the picture at 15-16 then answered the loss of a single with a 3 that thrust him into an 18-17 lead.

Mackintosh answered that pressure with a double to 19 but Duffus replied with successive singles to 20 before his LRF opponent clinched victory – but only after a tense wait on an umpire’s measure that went in his favour.

The watching members of clan Mackintosh – and their supporters – were left with fingers down to the knuckles as 14-year-old Craig emulated his father with a 21-20 win in the Junior Singles over 2011 national finalist Josh Spalding of Craigentinny.

Mackintosh settled any nerves with a full-house count of 4 on the opening end then led 7-2 before coming under testing pressure as Spalding closed to 10-10 but responded with a 2 and a 3 to make good space to 15.

The battle for supremacy still had to be won however and the outcome was in the melting pot at 18-18 before a sizzling double moved the young teenager to 20, however, he had passed up a golden opportunity make it a 3 for 21.

Spalding accepted his lifeline with a double to 20 but the junior cap bit the dust to a single for Mackintosh on end 24.

The other semi-final also produced a cracking encounter with Liam Mackay of Tanfield making a strong recovery from 2-9 to cross 13-11 then battle on to score a 21-17 victory over Jamie Reid of Northern.

Hillside carded a mighty 5 on the second last end of The Fours enabling Colin Bell to skip John Simpson, Alan Tough and BJ Smith to a 15-13 win over Charlie McLaren, Graeme Swan, Andy McNab and Robert White of Tanfield.

Maitland added a 3 at the third last to lead 15-9 then Peter Morris, Ross Barclay, Alan Sharp and Alan Flockhart held on to win 15-12 against Laurence Robertson, Jim Hutchison, Paul McLaren and Colin Hutchison of Goldenacre.