West Lothian have fired themselves back into the frontline of the race to finish in the top two places of The Cities and Counties Bowls Championship thanks to an impressive away win over Midlothian at Polton.
The pre-season hype suggested that Midlothian would feature prominently in the highly competitive East section and although starting moderately would pose a major threat to a West Lothian team arriving on the back of a shock defeat at home to Borders. Whilst the match didn’t reach epic proportions it was being excitingly fought on a tightrope at one stage however Midlothian’s first half authority was strongly challenged in a second half that saw West Lothian surge to a 15 shot victory (117-102). “It was disappointing that we failed to kick on when twice holding a double-figure lead over the first nine ends but West Lothian have built up a 21 end stamina over many years and they finished much the stronger”, said Midlothian team manager Drew Pearson. Grant Logan emerged the main driving force for West Lothian and his winning contribution was supported by the rinks skipped by Thomas Mann, Steven Fleming, and Sandy McDougall.
Midlothian did make a positive impression with wins for Colin McFarlane and Ramsay Blair over Neil Speirs and Raymond Logan, respectively. The first phase picture looked to be developing encouragingly for Midlothian with a 12 shot lead (30-18) after four ends however a bit of a fade forced them to settle for a reduced 5 shot advantage (37-32) at the close of the opening seven-ends. West Lothian were digging deep to cope with the home team pressure but were back to an 11 shot deficit (50-39) before making stronger headway to turn the tables with a 37-31 retaliation on the second phase. With the master scoreboard showing one shot in favour of the visitors (69-68) entering the third and final phase it was all to play for but the tough questions being asked were – for the most part – were answered by West Lothian. Colin McFarlane did punish Speirs severely over the final four ends but his great 10-0 effort (4, 2, 1, 3) couldn’t prevent the visitors clinching the match points with an, overall, powerful 48-34 finish. End 8 produced a 10-4 count and an 11 shot match lead for Midlothian that should have given them fresh impetus, but didn’t.
Ends 15, 16, and 17 were the game-changers in favour of West Lothian with the visitors carding scores of 10-2, 10-4, and 7-1 that accelerated them from a single shot lead (69-68) to 21 putting them firmly in the driving seat approaching the finishing line. Logan (Grant) made an early impact for WL, putting on 12 shots for the loss of one to skip Drew Paterson, David Lamb, and John Aitken from 3-4 to 15-5 then on wards to a 22-9 win over Danny McDougall.
Mann pushed on from 9-8 to skip John Black, Blair Mackie, and James Speirs to a 19-10 win over Colin Walker while Ewan Shearer, Gary Orr, Stuart Johnston, and McDougall came from 12-7 down to beat Ronnie Duncan, 23-19. MacFarlane- for Midlothian – celebrated two early counts of 5 to lead 14-5 in a punishing 30-15 win over Neil Speirs; while Ramsay Blair held on from 16-8 to beat Raymond Logan, 20-19.
Parkside recall Kevin Boyd and Dave Sherriffs for tonights high profile home clash against traditional rivals Hillside in Division 1 of The Alpha Trophies Sponsored Edinburgh Bowling League. They replace Sid Cymber and David Moran in a re-shuffled line that reads,Rink 1. Craig Bryce, Willie Watson, Kevin Boyd, and Neil Watson. Rink 2. Ewan Diven, Dave Sherriffs, Alex Hurry, and Robert Donaldson. Rink 3. Ian Fleming, Danny McCourt, Danny Jackson, and Derek Smith. Rink 4. Graeme Fraser, Andy Hargan, Brian Salvona, and Paul Veitch.
Craigentinny entertain foot of the table Summerside and with the defending champions sitting just two points adrift of leaders Maitland it is the hope of team manager Andrew Caldwell that the traditional slow starters will take this opportunity to step up the pace.
Maitland, with home advantage, will fancy their chances to stay top at the expense of Leith while Queensberry entertain Northern.
Tanfield top Division 2 thanks to an extraordinary 9-0 win at Postal last week but they lived dangerously as the home team were leading 9-0 after 11 of the 17 ends played and had it stayed that way Postal would be top dogs.
Tanfield (20) visit Pilrig (16) in another top of the table clash while Postal (15) get the chance to take their huge disappointment out at home to foot of the table Willowbrae (9).
Dudley sit top of Division 3 (22) but face an away challenge at Corstorphine (13) while the other table positions are LRF 17; Whitehouse & Garnge 16; Brunstane 12; Ardmillan 12; Blackhall 11, Dean 5.
The match of the night in Division 3 features second placed Liberton (14) at home to leaders Merchiston (19) while the other placings are, Seafield 14; Jessfield 11; Tramways 11; Coltbridge 8; Lutton Place 4.
Former Water of Leith (League) clubs Colinton (21) and Carrick Knowe (20) clash in Divisions 5 match of the night. The other table placings are, Bainfield 16; Portobello 15; Trinity 7; and Braid 2.