Edinburgh bowls champions Slateford crashed to a 6-2 points defeat at the hands of Melrose in the final of The Co-operative Funeralcare Inter County Top Ten championship played at Eddlewood, Hamilton.
A bright sky, warm sunshine and a good conditioned Eddlewood surface provided a perfect setting for Slateford’s bid to land the national title for a third time, but the 1996 and 1997 champions failed to shine against a hungry opposition.
Melrose, who had earlier set the Borders support alight with a 6-2 win over Bogleha’ of Argyll & Bute in their semi-final, roared to a first-time Borders triumph with wins in the Singles, Pairs and Fours, with the only success for Slateford coming in the Triples.
Slateford were in good form in the morning, beating Wigtownshire champions Stranraer 6-2. Team member Gordon Ramsay said: “We left our best form behind us after a promising performance to beat Stranrear. Melrose played with more sparkle and were worthy winners.”
Slateford were banking on lead figure Robert Marshall winning in the Singles, but on this occasion the 49-year-old 18-times club champion was unable to deliver.
Marshall made an explosive start to his match against Melrose spearhead figure Kenny Johnstone with two counts of 4 on the trot to lead 8-2 after three ends, but the five times Tait Trophy winner was halted in his tracks by the loss of five singles. He then carded a single, but dropped a 2 that left the battle for supremacy deadlocked at 9-9 after ten ends.
Marshall regained the upper hand to lead 16-14, but, after a ding-dong battle, Johnstone was sitting pretty on 20-17 and, two ends later, promoted a short bowl of his onto the top of the jack to clinch a 21-17 victory in 22 ends – the added heartbreak for Marshall being that he had played a clinker of an end with all four of his bowls in close proximity of the jack.
Meanwhile, Andrew Ramsay was putting in a typically bold effort to rally Slateford by skipping his younger brother Ronnie and Graham McAdam to a 20-11 win over Craig Brown, Michael Paterson and Neil McNally in the Triples, but Dougie Martin and Gordon Ramsay were in the process paying a stiff price for the loss of two sixes in the Pairs – at the 11th and 16th ends – and finished 19-13 victims of Lee Haldane and Ian Crawford.
An afternoon of doom and gloom in the Fours saw the rink of Jamie Gracie, Louis Beaton, John Ramsay and Scott Brunton trail 10-0 after four ends and collapse to a 24-9 defeat from Ross Graham, Bill Swanston, Ross Nichol and Billy Swanston Snr.