John Aitken answered periods of serious pressure by serving up typical heroic performances to capture the Scotmid sponsored 17th West Lothian Masters title in the final days play at Oakbank Bowling Club.
Aitken’s triumph is the fourth time the now 60 year has secured the signature Green Jacket and pocketed the £1000 cheque, equalling the record number of wins achieved by his Kirkliston club mate Grant Logan. “It’s a real thrill to win The Masters for a fourth time and although it won’t bring us a new kitchen we are off to the States on holiday soon so the grand is grand news in that respect”, said Aitken.
The No5 seed – booked his place in the Last Day of The Masters with a 21-6 win over No12 seed Glen King of Bankton Mains in their Section Final then relived his previous title glories with wins over Stevie Pettigrew, Walter McDougall, and Ryan Miller. The other section results were, David Lamb (Uphall Station) 21 Steven Fleming (Buchan Park) 7; Walter McDougall (Glenmavis) 21 Gordon Logan (Kirkliston) 17; Stevie Pettigrew (Bathgate) 21 Jimmy Mallon (Broxburn) 11; Ryan Miller (Buchan Park) 21 Frazer Muirhead (Uphall Station) 16; David Rodgers (Harrysmuir) 21 Sandy McDougall (Glenmavis) 17; Walter Millar (Linlithgow) 21 Cameron Greer (No7 seed of Bathgate) 18; Brian Saunders (Bathgate) 21 Grant Logan (No2 seed of Kirkliston) 19.
Aitken was the oldest left standing from a field of 200 and the six days play in the Masters is a tough test of stamina and focus but his ability to dictate pace and tactical use of the mat was to prove paramount. Aitken trailed Pettigrew 8-0 then 12-4 in their quarterfinal but helped greatly by a short mat tactic crossed 14-12 then from 16-15 won 21-17 with a 1, 1, 2, (2), 1 finish. McDougall the No9 seed – made the early running in the semi final to lead 7-4, 13-9, and 15-13; but the loss of a single to 14 was to bring bad news. Aitken whipped the mat up the green and although the head built up against him run the jack into the ditch for a single to15-15 then he battled to a 21-16 victory with counts of 1, 2, (1), 2, 1.
Ryan Miller though was the ‘talk of the town’ having played like a machine to destroy David Rodgers, 21-2, and Walter Millar, 21-6. As a former Champion of Champions big things were predicted for the exciting 24-year old in the final. Miller started well to lead 3-0 but Aitken got off the mark with a good single then immediately took the mat for a walk, well up the green, and that sparked an amazing eight end run of 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 2, 2, 1 to lead 18-3. Miller gained respite from a miscast jack and carded 1, 1, 1 to 6 but his consistency of weight had long gone and Aitken put him out of misery with a 2, 1 finish to win 21-6 in 16 ends.
Other quarterfinal results; McDougall 21 Lamb 13; Millar 21 Saunders 15.