Bowls: Gracie will be Top Ten boost for Slateford

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SLATEFORD carry the Edinburgh banner in The Co-operative Funeralcare-sponsored Scottish Inter-County Top Ten Championship and launch their bid for the bowls title with home advantage against Kingswood of Glasgow in tomorrow’s first round (2pm).

“We won the national title back to back in 1996 and 1997 and the honour hasn’t come to the city since so we have the hunger and appetite to put that to rights this season,” said spokesman Robert Marshall.

Marshall continues to be the spearhead for Slateford with the 49-year-old, 18-times club champion playing in the Singles but there are line-up changes from the team that won the Edinburgh title with the exciting news that Jamie Gracie has joined from Sighthill.

Gracie – a regular Hamilton Trophy player with Edinburgh & Leith – is too hot a property to overlook so Slateford have slotted the 29-year-old at lead to Louis Beaton, John Ramsay and Scott Brunton in the Fours.

Andrew Ramsay (skip) and his brother Ronnie are sandwiched by Graham McAdam in the Triples while their older brother Gordon skips Dougie Martin in the Pairs.

It is interesting that Andrew Ramsay, Ronnie Ramsay, and Robert Marshall remain backbone members of the Slateford team some 27 years on from becoming folklore legends when Marshall skipped them and RK Wright to the Scottish then British Isles Fours title in 1986.

Midlothian celebrated recent national title success in 2006 (Newbarttle), 2008 (Danderhall, 2009 (Bonnyrigg), and 2010 (Gilmerton) giving their current champions Musselburgh much to live up to commencing with a home game against Polmaise of Stirling County tomorrow.

Scott Reid leads the way in the Singles with Andrew Neilson and Steven Robertson forming the Pairs while footballer Kenny Miller’s father Jocky skips Alan Stewart and Ian Murray in the Triples.

Midlothian Indoor star AJ (Sandy) Knight skips Micky Robertson, Richard Irvine, and Brian Martin in the Fours.

Bathgate continue their campaign with a home game against Bogleha’ of Argyll & Bute.