Bowls: Mitchell given a fright in district singles

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CARRICK KNOWE'S four-time champion Colin Mitchell had to sweat before progressing in last night's action in the first round of the District 12 singles.

With the winner challenging for the national title, the contest is a hotbed of talent and most of the leading contenders survived.

But the 36-year-old Scotland cap, a record five-time winner of the Tait Trophy by the age of 30 and 13-time champion of Carrick Knowe, got a real fright from Chris Wilson of Juniper Green at Gorgie Mills.

After a marathon 27 ends, Mitchell conjured up a count of three to clinch a 21-19 victory.

Robert Marshall, the record holding champion of Slateford, gave a typical excellent display of weight control to score a 21-14 victory over Braid stalwart Bob Muat in 19 ends at Whitehouse & Grange. Alan Brown, meanwhile, the 47-year old Gorgie Mills champion, is again presenting a serious challenge after taking just 15 ends at Colinton to beat Whitehouse & Grange champion Andrew Sneddon 21-9. Sneddon is a past District 11 and Tait Trophy champion for Tanfield.

Andrew McKendrick of Currie reminded the E&L selectors of his ability by beating Gordon Plenderleith of Lutton Place 21-4 in 18 ends at Stenhouse. One major upset last night saw the demise of 2004 national semi-finalist Alex Hurry with the 31-year-old champion of Parkside making a 21-14 exit in 22 ends at Braid to Sighthill's Stuart Isbister.

Colin Cochrane of Merchiston picked up from 6-6 to beat George Mooney of Stenhouse 21-10 at Carrick Knowe, while Mark Inglis of Colinton Mains dealt a 21-9 exit to Duncan McLaren of West End at Merchiston.

Gil Stuart carried the Caledonian banner forward when, in a thrilling climax, he added 1, 1, 2 to clinch a 21-17 win over Ian Neil of Ardmillan at West End.

&#149 EAST LOTHIAN have yet to find top gear in their section challenge of the Cities & Counties Championship but kept themselves in the picture with a workmanlike 128-109 victory over Fife County at Port Seton to make it two wins from three.

East Lothian now occupy third position, two points behind joint leaders West Lothian and Edinburgh & Leith but share the four-point mark with Border.

West Fife and Midlothian have two points while Stirling East and Fife are on zero.