Lothians giants clash in opening day of Cities and Counties
Today heralds the opening play, nationwide, of The Scottish Cities and Counties Championship for the coveted Andrew Hamilton Trophy, and the top-of-the bill action in the East section is the Edinburgh & Leith versus East Lothian clash.
Both teams are considered strong frontline challengers to finish in one of the top two qualifying positions from a section that also embraces West Lothian, Midlothian, Borders, Fife County, West Fife, and Stirling County East.
Hitting the ground running is the ambition of all team managers and it is a bonus for Willie Watson that his team of Capital stars begin with the comfort of a home venue at Currie; but East Lothian are sure to make things hot for them.
Watson and E&L president Ian Pickavance of Wardie have invested their faith in Paul O’Donnell as team captain and a notable promotion is of Sighthill star John McDermott from third to skip.
There is a welcome return to the limelight for former Parksider Alex Hurry, now at Bainfield. However Darren Hush (Carrick Knowe) and David Fisher (Colinton) are two stalwart figures of recent campaigns that are unavailable for the opening fixture.
Edinburgh and Leith
Rink 1: Craig McCall, Darren McKenny, Jamie Gracie, Robert Marshall.
Rink 2: Liam McKay, Gordon Bold, Andrew Caldwell, Mal Higgenbotham.
Rink 3: Stephen Pringle, John Ramsay, Neil Watson, James Hogg.
Rink 4: Josh Spalding, Alex hurry, Robert Donaldson, John McDermott.
Rink 5: Daniel Gormley, Gordon Wilson Jnr, Alan brown, Paul Veitch.
Rink 6: Kevin Tennant, Scott Rogers, Craig Paterson, Paul O’Donnell.
East Lothian’s newly appointed team manager Stewart Johnston is enthused by the availability of world stage legend Alex Marshall for the series and the presence of “Tattie” raises the exciting prospect of a clash with his older brother Robert.
Johnston has had major issues to deal with in the shape of Scotland Cap Derek Oliver ruling himself out for the whole campaign while other notable absentees from last season’s team include Ian bell, Stephen Cochrane and himself.
However, former Scotland cap Alister Kennedy returns to the fold while Stewart Thomson and Welsh star Joe Mower make their debut in a strongly formed line up that is captained by Scott Kennedy.
Rink 1: R Thomson, D Berwick, J Mower, Billy Mellors.
Rink 2: G White, J Gordon, S Greenan John McCrorie.
Rink 3: M Osborne, B Cormack, B Dunleavey, Brian Young.
Rink 4: S Thomson. C McLeod, A Kennedy, Alex Marshall.
Rink 5: S White, G baillie, T Young, Craig Valentine.
Rink 6: C Johnston, M McCormack, G Blair, Scott Kennedy.
Elsewhere in the section, West Lothian face Midlothian in a tough opener at Buchan Park, Broxburn. Stirling County East play Borders Bonnybridge and Fife face West Fife at Cupar.