Edinburgh & Leith strike back in Cities and Counties
Edinburgh & Leith bounced back from a shock opening defeat to achieve an excellent away win over Borders at Earlston in the Scottish Cities and Counties Championship.
Winning performances on four of the six rinks propelled E&L to a sizeable 23-shot victory with the positive contributions made by skips John McDermott, Mal Higgenbotham, Paul O’Donnell and Paul Veitch.
The rinks skipped by James Hogg and Darren Hush did suffer setbacks however the master scoreboard always showed E&L holding the upper hand from the second end onwards, and reaching a 29-shot peak entering the 15th.
There had been pre-match tension in the E&L camp as their 24-man team had been significantly depleted by the absence of stars Robert Marshall, Jamie Gracie, Alex Hurry, Neil Watson, Gordon Wilson Jnr, Andy McNab and Euan Craig due to the Scottish Cup Final at Hempden.
E&L made the early running and were able to establish a 50-29 lead by the close of the first seven-end phase. Two major strides had been taken with an 11-3 count on the fifth end and a 10-2 on the seventh helping accelerate the E&L lead from a vulnerable four into the comfort zone of the 20s.
E&L were unable to go on the rampage but did enough to capture the second phase, 41-33, before a weaker third phase cost them a non-threatening 38-32 setback.
There was the danger of E&L suffering a late wobble with their lead down to just 12 with two ends remaining but they with an 8-2, 8-3, finish.
McDermott won 15 of the 21 ends as he skipped Josh Spalding, John Priestley and Robert Donaldson to a 21-9 win over Stuart Bebington. Higgenbotham stretched from 7-5 to 18-7 and skipped Liam McKay, Gordon Bold and Andy Caldwell to a 21-11 win over Alistair White while O’Donnell came from 10-13 to beat Graham Forsyth 22-16.
Hush was 18-6 ahead butt was defeated 22-21 by Stuart White. Hogg slipped from 9-4 up to a 25-17 defeat from Kenny Johnstone.
Paul Veitch finished 1, 3, 3 to beat Ralph Nichol 21-17.