Bowls: Kirk’s bid for Knockout title on course with final place

Blackhall ace George Kirk stepped up his bid to capture the Singles crown of the Ian Mackay Contracts-sponsored Edinburgh Bowling League Knockout Championships with a convincing semi-final win over teenager Daniel Gormley of Craigentinny.

Kirk is already a legend of the Junior singles having won it a record four times and now the 27-year-old is driven by a desire to make a lasting impression on the senior event. Gormley is a bright emerging prospect from the rich reservoir of talent at Craigentinny but the 18-year-old fell out of the game and Kirk triumphed 21-10 in 22 ends.

Hillside was the venue and the Craigentinny support witnessed a second disappointment with their rink of Ian Duncan, Ronnie Hoskin, Stuart McFarlane and Andrew Caldwell crashing to a 23-16 defeat from Goldenacre.

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Caldwell and Co looked to be in good shape at 16-14 up but their roof caved in with the loss of 2, 4, 3 to Alan Head, Lawrence Robertson, Ronnie Munro and Ian Pullar.

Craigentinny were in three semi-finals however and their dark cloud had a silver lining in the shape of 16-year-old Josh Spalding who produced a typically sparkling display to beat Scott Mitchell of Corstorphine, 21-8, in the Junior Singles.

Last-end drama in the Pairs saw Norrie Graham and Kevin McNab of Dean card a double to snatch a 13-12 victory over David Moran and Brian Salvona of Parkside.

The Triples turned into one-way traffic for Tramways with John Stephen, George Richardson and George Czemartin zipping from 4-5 to 12-5 then winning 12-7 against Ian McLaren, Willie Stoddart and John Wilson of Corstorphone.

Meanwhile, the semi-final action at Maitland had EBL official Brian Higgins declaring: “The drama here was tense and exciting and the climaxes thrilling.”

Graeme McIntosh of Tanfield is a serious contender for the Singles title with the 53-year-old former Edinburgh Open champion answering pressure at 16-15 with a 4, 1 finish against John Urquhart of Ardmillan.

A cracking encounter in the Junior Singles saw 21-year-old student Steven Hunter of Whitehouse & Grange produce an awesome conversion on end 26 of an epic battle to card a double with game against him to beat 14-year-old Ross Thomson of Mayfield, 21-19.

Goldenacre captured the scalp of the defending champions in the Pairs with Nicky Brown and Mark Hogg making a tremendous start to lead 12-0 then deal a 20-11 exit to Willie Scott and Darren McKenny of Pilrig.

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More grief for Pilrig came in the Fours where their rink of Andy Tregoning, Peter Rogers, Ryan Gow and David Poole were comfortable at 12-7 but tumbled to a 16-12 defeat from a 1, 4, 4 finish from Duncan Cairns, Philip Lonie, Stewart Robertson and Ally McKenna.

The Headspeath clan of Jim Glen and Jamie thrilled their Hillside support with a double at the last to pip Larry Sorrell, Alan Nichol and Ross Wyllie of Wardie, 10-9.