E&L tumble out in last eight after agonising loss

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EDINBURGH & LEITH suffered a heartbreaking two-shot defeat (114-112) against Renfrewshire West in the quarter-final of The Cities and Counties Championship at Bainfield.

The home support had cheered wins on four of the six rinks. However, the combined margin of supremacy achieved by skips Paul Veitch, Robert Marshall, Mal Hoggenbotham and James Hogg only added up to nine shots. That wasn’t enough to cover the setbacks – albeit single figure ones – inflicted by C McFarlane and S Fisher on Jamie Gracie and Paul O’Donnell respectively.

Team manager Willie Watson went into the fixture without Andy Caldwell, Alan Brown and Andy McNab, then Willie McDonald became a late call-off resulting in a recall for George Kirk and a switch of rinks and position for Gavin Smith.

E&L made a troubled start, finding themselves 15 shots adrift (33-18) after five ends. They steadied the ship over the next four ends and advantages of 7-5, 9-4, 9-2 and 10-8 not only wiped out the deficit but moved the Capital side into a single-shot lead at 53-52 after nine ends.

But E&L failed to build on their recovery and were back under pressure at 11 shots down (79-68) after 13 ends.

End 12 had been significant with Renfrewshire West cashing in on a mighty five for Jonathan Ross over Marshall to rock E&L back onto their heels with a 10-1 count across the green. E&L remained in arrears until the 19th end where the melting pot began to sizzle as the result of a 12-5 fightback that placed the match outcome on a 103-103 tightrope.

End 20 tilted the match result in the 109-108 direction of E&L but a tension-filled climax went 6-3 in favour of Renfrewshire West.

Rink scores: P Veitch 18, S McLellan 13; R Marshall 19, J Ross 17; M Higgenbotham 21, D Houston 20; J Hogg 20, S Wotherspoon 19; P O’Donnell 18, S Fisher 23; J Gracie 16, D Moffat 22.