Maitland lead the way in Division 1 of the Alpha Trophies-sponsored Edinburgh Bowling League after playing eight of the 14-fixture campaign.
This week’s impressive 7-2 win at Northern enabled Maitland to leapfrog record seven-times champions Craigentinny and also put extra distance between them and third-placed title holders Parkside.
Maitland were early pacesetters in last season’s campaign before falling away but will hope that experience can help them handle the pressure this time around. Wins on the rinks skipped by Alan Trotter, Brian Higgins and Graeme McIntosh combined to also clinch the bonus point that helped cover the frustration of Gordon Clark just failing to make it a Maitland cleansweep.
Trotter raced into a 12-1 lead before skipping George Trotter, Ross Barclay and Jim Robertson to an 18-11 win over James Barr.
Higgins looked set to blow a handsome 13-3 lead when brought under pressure at 14-14 but won the day with a 4, 1, 1 finish to skip Peter Morris, Steven Ritchie and Alan Sharp to a 20-14 win over Ian Miller.
McIntosh wiped out a 9-5 deficit to stand peels at 14-14 playing the last where he and his front-three of Andi Kellagher, Graham Duff and Mark McIntosh claimed a magic count of three to win a 17-14 thriller.
Clark and his rink of Ryan Taylor, Stuart Clark and Gordon B Smith were in with a chance at 13-12 down playing the last but lost out 14-12 to a single edged by Garry Harrison, Gordon Wilson Snr, David Scott and Gordon Wilson Jnr.
Craigentinny’s 5-4 defeat at Hillside cost them the lead of the league. Andrew Jeffrey and Daniel Gormley were victorious for Craigentinny while Scott Rogers came close. However, a heavy defeat for Andy Caldwell proved costly. Rink scores: BJ Smith 13, A Jeffrey 24; Brian Irving 10, D Gormley 15; Colin Hairs 16, Scott Rogers 12; Colin Bell 23, A Caldwell 7.
Meanwhile, Tanfield remain in mid-table after a 5-4 win at home to relegation-zoned Queensberry while visitors Parkside beat bottom side Pilrig 7-2.