Bowls: Hogg’s last shot will be legendary
James Hogg was the E&L hero, clinching victory with a spectacular last bowl that crashed the jack into the ditch for a two- shot conversion.
The win was vital because it keeps E&L in the East section-qualifying picture.
“I have never witnessed such a spectacular climax to any bowls match in my life although I feel for Midlothian as they will view our win as rough justice,” said E&L team boss Willie Watson.
The entire E&L team and support erupted into applause at Hogg’s effort, delivered under the most extreme of pressures, but the nature of the thrilling climax left Midlothian gutted to the core.
Midlothian had played extremely well to establish a deserved lead of 17 going into the third and final phase of the match, and there was no thought of defeat when they entered the last end still ahead by nine shots.
But the world stood still for the visitors as E&L conjured up a magic 13-2 count that turned the result on its head and it was made possible by the home rink of Craig McCall, Gordon Bold, Robert Donaldson and Mal Higgenbotham as they delivered a magnificent 7.
The unfolding drama reached intense level with the scoreboard reading 113-113 and only one rink still to finish – the spotlight falling 100 per cent on James Hogg versus Ramsay Blair.
Midlothian’s build up was better until Darren Hush brilliantly trailed the jack through the head to put E&L in a strong winning position. So Blair had a decision to make and he thundered his bowl into the head and it exploded on target.
He came out of it holding the match-winner, almost on the nose of the jack.
Midlothian deserved to bag both points (overall) and only Hogg and the last bowl of the match could deprive them – it was a bowl in a million and the outcome will become folklore in both E&L and Midlothian history.
The rink scores were: James Hogg 28, Ramsay Blair 15; Paul Veitch 23, Colin Walker 14; Mal Higgenbotham 24, Scott Briggs 16; Robert Marshall 15, Jim Gibson 18; Billy Mellors 16, Ronnie Duncan 27; Willie McDonald 9, John Stevenson 23.