THE race to capture the Division 1 title of the Alpha Trophies-sponsored Edinburgh Bowling League is entering the final straight, with defending champions Parkside back on top with three games remaining.
Parkside entered last night’s 11th round of fixtures one point adrift of pre-campaign favourites Craigentinny, but emerged with a two-point lead having benefited from an impressive 8-1 win at home to Northern.
Craigentinny managed to win a tough away fixture against Tanfield, but their 5-4 success still allowed them to be leapfrogged by Parkside.
A better result for Tanfield would have kept them at the sharp end in the title race, but although the former king pins of the EBL are struggling to show the form of their past glories, they are sitting in third place and could still be a danger to the top two.
The major surprise of the night involved two clubs in the relegation zone and the 7-2 defeat of Queensberry at home to Maitland puts their survival at risk. The Maitland camp will be cock-a-hoop that they have leapfrogged their victims into third bottom place, leaving Queensberry two points adrift and keeping the already doomed Mayfield for company.
At Parkside, wins for the rinks skipped by Alex Hurry, Paul Veitch and Robert Donaldson had the home camp jumping with joy, but the highlight of the match was Derek Smith salvaging a valuable point with an amazing fightback.
Smith and his rink of Graeme Fraser, Gary Hall and Danny Jackson were nursing heartache at 16-4 down to Ian McDonald, Jim Prentice, Gordon Wilson Snr and Mike Burns of Northern.
The home rink then caused a flutter with a 2, 1, 3 revival to 10. Then Smith burnt the next head and caused a stir by trailing the jack for a 4 on the replay and encored that piece of conversion magic by carrying the jack though the head for a double at the last to finish peels at 16-16.
Donaldson did his bit in defence of the title with a spectacular double bowl take out for a two-shot conversion on his penultimate end that saw him skip Craig Bryce, Gareth Edwards and Willie Watson to a 17-14 win over Jamie Reid.
Paul Veitch added 1, 2, 2, 4, 1 to cross 15-9 then skip Steven Rennie, Ewan Diven and Neil Watson to a 20-14 win over Hugh Hilson, while the best win of the night was served up by Alex Hurry.
Hurry carded 2, 3, 3 to stretch into a 13-4 lead then he skipped Ian Fleming, Rab Gardner and Bob Ramsay to a 23-8 win over David Scott.
“We have a tougher looking run-in than Craigentinny as it includes a clash with Tanfield so we are not counting our chickens,” said spokesman Robert Donaldson.
Meanwhile, Andy Jeffrey starred for Craigentinny at Tanfield having conjured up a 3 at the last to skip Craig McCall, John Shields and Gordon Bold to a 16-14 win over Graeme McIntosh.
But it was Willie McDonald that secured the bonus point by skipping Daniel Gormley, Grant McLaren and David Brown to a 24-9 win over Robert White.
Tanfield’s wins came from Mal Higgenbotham, 19-16 over Kevin McFarlane, and Stuart Campbell, 17-15 over Andy Caldwell. Pilrig beat Mayfield 7-2.
Division 2 results: Hillside 7 Corstorphine 2; Summerside 9 Dean 0; West End 9 Goldenacre 0; Leith 7 Wardie 2.
Division 3: Postal 8 Blackhall 1; Dudley 7 Liberton 2; Willowbrae 2 LRF 7; Niddrie 2 Whitehouse & Grange 7.
Division 4: Portobello 7 Merchiston 2; Seafield 9 Braid 0;Tramways 2 Ardmillan 7.