West Lothian continued their late improvement in form in the Cities and Counties Championship with a strong team performance to score a commanding 38 shot victory (135-97) over Glasgow West in their quarterfinal of The Hamilton Trophy at Kilwinning.
It’s a win that takes last years losing finalists into the 2015 semi finals a situation that had looked less than promising when losing three of their first five games in the tough East qualifying section. The encouraging factor for team manager Jimmy Mallon is that wins on five rinks – skipped by Stevie Fleming, Sandy McDougall, Neil Speirs, Raymond Logan, and Thomas Mann – suggest his team is in balance despite call-off’s each week.
The only setback against a keen Glasgow West was inflicted on Scotland skip Grant Logan but the damage came late in the game and defeat was restricted to single figures. West Lothian won all three phases of the match, making a strong start to dominate the first seven-ends by an 18 shot margin (47-29) then moving into a high twenties comfort zone with a 9 shot edge (40-31) on the second. The third and final phase saw West Lothian coast it by an 11 shot margin (48-37) and the triumph came as a welcome counterbalance to fellow East section challengers E&L making a shock exit to Renfrewshire West at Bainfield. Fleming skipped David Rodgers, Alec Allan, and Andy Dunnett into a good 18-9 lead after 15-ends then accelerated to 28 with a run of 2, 3, 1, 2, 2 to beat S Wilson, 28-11.
McDougall reached 20-8 with a mighty count of 5 at end 17 and went on to skip John Black, Jamie Aitken, and Gary Orr to a 24-10 win over T McCartney. Speirs made a whiz-bang start that included three counts of 4 in a 13-1 lead after five ends but it took a strong 1, 2, 1, 2 finish for the 2014 gold medal hero to skip Ewan Shearer, Blair Mackie, and Mark Allison to a 23-16 win over S McWilliams. Logan (Ray) suffered the loss of 1, 6, 2 to trail 13-7 but hit back with 1, 5 and went on to skip Steven Forrest, Walter McDougall, and Gary Smith to a 20-16 win over R Moles. Mann held on from 19-12 up to skip Andrew Semple, James Speirs, and John Aitken to a 21-18 win over P Ward; but Grant Logan slipped from 19-15 up to a 26-19 defeat from K Bain.
Craigentinnty’s reputation as strong finishers in the history of their record seven title triumphs in Division 1 of The Alpha Trophies sponsored Edinburgh Bowling League will be tested severely in tonight’s top of the table visit to leaders Parkside. Parkside finished second to Craigentinny last year but have two title celebrations to their credit and go into tonight’s confrontation holding a three and a half point lead and aware that they must keep their visitors at bay with a four game run in to follow. Holiday caused absentee’s has created a piece of history making by 14 year old budding star Lewis Betts who becomes the youngest ever debut player for Craigentinny. Craigentinny enter this Lions Den fixture without the service of regular stars, Willie McDonald, Scott Rogers, Darren Smith, and Grant McLaren but do have strength in depth and line up as follows. Rink 1. Ian Duncan, Stuart Betts, David Brown, and Andy Caldwell. Rink 2. David Torrance, Scott Duncan, Josh Spalding, and Daniel Gormley. Rink 3. Craig McCall, Lewis Betts, Gordon Bold, and Andy Jeffrey. Rink 4. Kevin Hunter, Malky Milne, Scott Nisbet, and Kevin McFarlane.
Parkside have Ian Fleming on holiday but have Ewan Diven back in harness for a home team that failed to live up to expectations against Northern last week and know the chips are down again tonight. Rink 1. Craig Bryce, Davie Moran, Andy Hargan, and Neil Watson. Rink 2. Steven Rennie, Willie Watson, Kevin Boyd, and Derek Smith. Rink 3. Alex Hurry, Dave Sherriffs, Danny Jackson, and Robert Donaldson. Rink 4. Graeme Fraser, Ewan Diven, Brian Salvona, and Paul Veitch. The other fixtures tonight are, Summerside v Northern; Queensberry v Maitland; Leith v Hillside.