Craigentinny beaten – but EBL leaders still well out in front

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There seems little danger of title favourites Craigentinny being punished despite an uncharacteristic 7-2 defeat at home to Maitland in Division 1 of the Alpha Trophies-sponsored Edinburgh Bowling League.

Following on from dropping home points to relegation-zoned Tanfield the previous week, the defending and record eight-times champions still lead the division by an awesome 13 points. Their comfort zone looks extremely safe entering a three-match run-in featuring fixtures against Postal away, at home to Brunstane, then Parkside away. Daniel Gormley spared the home team blushes at Craigentinny and his 25-12 win over Brian Higgins was never in doubt having skipped Lewis Betts, Gavin Rogers and Andy Caldwell on an opening run of 1, 2, (1), 6, 5 to lead 14-1 then stretch to 20-3 after ten ends.

Willie McDonald carded a magnificent seven at his penultimate end but there was to be no late rescue outcomes in a narrow 15-13 defeat from Maitland’s Andi Kellacher, Falconer Mitchell, Jim Robertson and Alan Brown.

Andy Jeffrey slumped from 9-9 to a 15-11 defeat from Graham Duff, Stuart Clark, Mark McIntosh and Graeme McIntosh while Ian Paterson lost 20-12 to George Trotter, Billy Clark, Stevie Ritchie and Alan Trotter. Parkside continue to pose the one and only threat to Craigentinny but a 7-2 win at home to Northern doesn’t suggest the chief chasers are hitting a strong enough stride.

Brunstane were in need of a points lift in their fight to avoid being sucked into the relegation danger zone and, while last season’s Division 2 runners-up might have hoped for a better outcome, they did help their cause with a 5-4 win at home to Hillside.

Hillside continue to be on the wrong side of the relegation trapdoor but are within touching distance of a third-from-bottom Tanfield team that raised spirits with a 7-2 win at home to Postal.

The halting of Postal’s recent revival leaves last season’s Division 2 champions much to do on a tough run-in – at home to Craigentinny, at home to Maitland, away to Hillside – but, from the bottom rung, they do have sight of the two club’s immediately above them.