Kevin McNab, who beat twin brother George in the championship final at Dean to clinch the club title for a sixth time, now has his sights focused on capturing the Tait Trophy.
The Edinburgh & Leith Champion of Champions event reaches its climax at Wardie tomorrow night (6.30pm) as McNab locks horns with Tait legend Robert Marshall of Slateford.
McNab, 47, has reached the final before, losing out to Kevin Rice of Northern in 1997. This year, McNab has reeled off four impressive wins in the competition, raising expectations that he could bridge a title gap at Dean that reaches back to the 1974 triumph of Ian Blair.
McNab’s latest victim, in this week’s semi-finals played at Colinton, was first-time Postal champion Stuart Turnbull, who closed from 14-6 to 14-11. However, the match was won in commanding 21-12 style by the Dean challenger.
“I was troubled by a hanging back hand in the early stages of our game and trailed Stuart 6-1, but was able to find a consistent line and length,” reflected McNab.
His final opponent Marshall captured the first of his five Tait Trophy wins in 1982 and the now 52-year-old – a 20-time club champion at Slateford – remains the acknowledged top Singles player in the Capital. Marshall’s latest Tait campaign started in the prelim round and the last of his five wins en route to the final saw him defeat a fellow high-profile challenger in the shape of international star James Hogg of Carrick Knowe.
Hogg was first out of the blocks in the semi-final at Colinton with a 3, 1, 2 start to lead 6-0, then he carded a 3 at end nine to have Marshall in his 11-5 grip.
Marshall changed the landscape in dramatic style, staging a fightback of 1, 2, 3, 4 that propelled him into a 15-11 lead. However, Hogg closed to 16-15. The wily Marshall had managed to upset the Hogg rhythm with the effective-but-temporary introduction of a short-mat tactic and, having got himself into a comfortable track, the Slateford ace turned up trumps with a 2, (1), 1, 2 finish to win 21-16 in 20 ends.