The dream of bowls title glory is over for the Under-25 brigade of Edinburgh & Leith, with the 2007 national champions suffering a 123-106 defeat from Lanarkshire in the semi-final of the Scottish League Cup played at Lenzie yesterday.
E&L had qualified from their section with an undefeated record but the squad that achieved four wins in a row was decimated, due to holiday commitments, by the loss of seven regulars.
“We lost the services of Josh Spalding, Jamie McIntosh, Dean Mackintosh, Chris Conway, David Torrance, Ross Nisbet and Ross Neil so our task against a County as strong as Lanarkshire was not an easy one,” said E&L convener Bernie Callaghan.
Wins over Fife, East Lothian, Midlothian, and Borders had created optimism in the E&L camp but the re-jigged line up made a slow start at Lenzie and paid a dear price.
“I am afraid the writing came on the wall for us early as we were outgunned 51-33 over the first seven-end phase but it was to the team’s credit that they edged the second phase 37-34 before losing the third 38-36,” added Callaghan.
Lanarkshire play their bowls with an aggressive enthusiasm and that attacking policy earned them more than a few conversions achieved by exciting strikes into the head.
The E&L rinks skipped by team Dean Thomson and team captain Neil Watson suffered most from this and their combined deficit of a hefty 38 shots was added to by the single-shot defeat of Nicky Brown.
Bold efforts on the other three rinks saw wins produced by Scott Noble and Euan Craig, while Daniel Gormley finished with a double to grab a peel.
Watson and his rink of Steven Rennie, Daniel McCourt and Colin Tough shipped 11 shots without reply over the opening five ends then the punishing loss of 2, 2, 3, 2, 5 to trail 25-4 put them well down the road to a 32-9 defeat from Scott McInall.
Thomson and his rink of Darren Prentice, Michael Ewing and Dean McNeil trailed 14-5 after 11 ends then 20-7 after 17 and lost 24-9 to Craig Brown.
Brown enjoyed a good 3, 1, 1, 4 spell to skip Arran Morrison, Glen Walker and Ross Noble into a 20-11 lead after 16 ends but an alarming collapse of 3, (2), 6, 1, 2 cost them a 23-22 defeat from Greg McMillan.
Gormley skipped Zak Hassan, Ross Byers and Kerr McKail into a 16-11 lead after 15 ends but slipped to a 19-19 share with Stuart Lehgorn.
E&L were kept on the map by the rink of Daniel McKendrick, Brandon Maywood, Stephen Pringle and Noble who found their top gear at 12-10 and accelerated to a 25-10 against Mark O’Hagan.
Euan Craig benefited from a middle-match run of 1, 3, 1, 2, 1 to skip Gavin Rogers, Donald Forsyth and Craig McArthur to a 22-15 win over Steven Baxter.