West Lothian are leading contenders to claim one of the two qualifying places in the East section of The Cities and Counties Bowls Championship and they launched their campaign with a commanding 35 shot victory (134-99) over West Fife at Queensferry.
West Fife represent dangerous opposition on their day and West Lothian have been known to sleepwalk into their opening fixture however last years national finalists produced a strong team performance to win on five of their six rinks. Wins on the rinks skipped by Neil Speirs, Thomas Mann, Raymond Logan, Grant Logan, and Steven Fleming were mostly hard earned while it was also a pleasing factor for team manager Jimmy Mallon that the defeat of Sandy McDougall was by a single shot. WL went 5-2 down on the opening end across the green but reversed that situation with a swift 7-1 count on the second and their supremacy on the major scoreboard went unchallenged thereafter having peaked with a 46 shot lead on end 11. Ends 5 and 15 provided major team highlights for West Lothian in the shape of 12-0 clean sweeps that in the first instance doubled their match lead from 12 to 24 and in the second tightened their grip on the opposition from 26 to 38.
The home support was stirred up early doors with West Lothian hitting the ground running to race into an encouraging 52-25 capture of the first seven-end phase however West Fife showed typical fight to arrest their slide and edge the second, 38-37. West Lothian were still operating in a comfort zone of 26 shots up entering the third and final phase and although losing ground on three rinks scored well enough on the other three to win it 45-36. Speirs inspiringly imposed his authority on the match and his immediate opposition by skipping Paul Lynas, Walter McDougall, and Mark Allison into a 16-3 lead after nine ends as a result of (2), 1, 4, 3, 2, (1), 1, 4, 1 counts against A Kennedy. The 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medal hero traded more or less evenly on his 13 shot margin to contribute a 24-12 victory that was the highest of the day for West Lothian. Mann sparked early jubilation in the WL ranks by skipping John Black, Blair Mackie, and James Speirs to a magnificent count of seven on end three however it eventually took a strong 4, 4, (1), 2 finish for the rink to score a 27-16 win over Paul Brown. Logan (Raymond) enjoyed two memorable highlights in the shape of a super 6 at end seven and a mighty 5 at end 16 as he skipped Steven Forrest, Ian Drysdale, and Gary Smith to a 28-19 win over Kenny Bald. Logan (Grant) lifted the spirits oh his rink with a mighty 5 at end eight to cross 10-6 then made good headway with Drew Paterson, Alec Allan, and John Aitken to lead 22-12 before settling for a 22-20 win over Jim McGuire. Fleming set up a good 17-9 lead before finishing a 19-17 winner over C Watson while McDougall was piped 15-14 by a 2, 1 finish from Rab McFarlane.