Maitland clinch Top Five Singles title after thrilling final

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Maitland’s capture of the Edinburgh & Leith Top Five Singles Championship for the prestigious Ian McFarlane Trophy is a great achievement and emulates the triumph celebrated by the club in 2005.

Ace figure Brian Higgins featured in both title campaigns and the richly-talented and competitive veteran proved to be an inspirational spearhead in the 2018 quest for glory as he won all six of his challenges.

The recent final against Bainfield at Parkside was an epic encounter that went right down to the wire before Maitland clinched a thrilling 3-2 victory.

The strong Maitland support were enthused by the winning performances delivered by Higgins, Graeme McIntosh and Alan Trotter while Bainfield were kept well in the picture by the triumphs of Stuart Clarke and Brian Stoddart.

Bainfield were first off the mark with Clarke storming to a 21-16 win over Gary Stout having responded to a 16-12 deficit with a whirlwind finishing run of 1, 2, 3, 2, 1.

Higgins brought Maitland into the picture with the recent national seniors singles finalist producing a purple patch spell of 3, 1, 3 to cross 17-14 then battle hard to clinch a 21-19 win over Stuart Wilson.

McIntosh – a former champion of the Edinburgh Open at Balgreen – came under severe pressure at 18-15 down to Craig Paterson but engaged a higher gear to accelerate to 21 with a powerful run of 1, 1, 2, 1, 1.

Stoddart kept the melting pot sizzling with a dramatic 21-20 win over Alan Brown having slipped from 19-17 up to 20-19 down before snatching victory with a double on the 29th end of marathon confrontation.

Although finely balanced at 2-2, it was looking like game, set and match for Bainfield with Steven Pilley leading Alan Trotter 20-14 in the last of the five head-to-heads but Trotter staged a spectacular escape to a title-clinching victory by conjuring up a magic run of 2, 1, 1, 1, 2 to hit 21 on end 27.

• There was awesome drama in this week’s semi-finals action of the West Lothian Top Five Singles as Bathgate (High) held the ace hand against record-holding Kirkliston at Broxburn before being forced to concede defeat by heart-wrenching circumstances.

With the match balanced on a cliff-edge at 2-2, the last match on the green saw Bryan Cooper lead Grant Logan 19-16 having just carded a magic 3. However, in running up to the head, an audible crack in the Achilles’ heel region resulted in a crippling injury to the Bathgate bowler.

Logan and KBC gave the distraught Bathgate camp some 40 minutes for Cooper to recover but when he was unable to do so, Bathgate very sportingly conceded a match-clinching third victory to KBC.

Neil Speirs (21-8 over David McCormick) and Raymond Logan (21-18 over Rab Hilson) had kept Kirkliston in the picture while Bathgate had cheered wins for Cameron Greer (21-10 over Mark Allison) and Alan McCormick (21-13 over Stevie Forrest).

Meanwhile, the other semi-final action played at Bankton Mains (Livingston) resulted in a straight 3-0 win for Linlithgow over Broxburn. Scores: Gary Smith 21, Alan Roxburgh 5; Andy Dunnett 21, Jamie Edwards 9; Gary Orr 21, Scott McMaster 16; Ewan Shearer 11, Stuart Mcmaster 12; Steven Fleming 12, James Bird 16.

• Saturday’s bowling highlight in the Capital is the final of the Specsavers Edinburgh Cup as two top-notch teams in Carrick Knowe and Parkside go head-to-head at Craigentinny (2pm).

Carrick Knowe reigned as winners in 2016 while the Parkside named was etched on the silverware in 2005 and 2010. The semi-finals saw Carrick Knowe beat Northern in a 7-6 nail-biter while Parkside dealt an 8-4 exit to Tanfield.

• It’s Tait Trophy weekend with the semi-finals and final of Edinburgh & Leith’s champion of champions event being staged at Parkside on Sunday (11am and 2pm).

Friday night’s quarter-finals at Craigentinny were set to feature: Robert Marshall (Slateford) v Les Mitchell Liberton) or Colin Mitchell (Carrick Knowe); Scott Mackintosh (London Road Foundry) v Kevin Boyd (Parkside); Craig Ramsay (Leith) v Donnie Gilbertson (West End), while Scott Purvis of Gorgie Mills receives a walk over.

• Tranent wins in the Singles, Triples, Fours saw them capture the East Lothian Top Ten title at the 6-2 expense of Elphinstone in the final played at Castlepark.

• The Seniors stars of East Lothian and West Lothian face-off in Monday’s final of The Matt Purdie Trophy being played at Abbeyview (Dunfermline) at noon.