West Lothian IBC’s bid to rekindle the form and spirit that recently delivered three-in-a-row indoor bowls premier league titles failed to materialise in the opening match against their 2014/15 successors Paisley at the Inveralmond Stadium in Livingston.
The clash of the titans was played out on a knife-edge from start to finish and developed into an epic counter that went right down to the wire before Paisley delivered the goods in a thrilling climax to clinch a 76-73 victory. To depart Fortress West Lothian with full points was a great result for last season’s surprise champions and they were worthy winners albeit in such a closely fought battle the pendulum might well have swung in favour of the home side. Given the richness of class and history that drove the West Lothian effort it is a major disappointment in the final stages when the chips are down and the stakes so high to be outscored on your home carpet.
“When a game is balanced on a tightrope and the opposition is strong the outcome is often decided by the breaks and I feel they didn’t come our way” reflected WL team captain Thomas Mann. Mann may have been influenced by the pain of his final end where his bold attempt to add a second shot ended in the disaster of giving away a single that pushed Paisley in into a 74-73 match lead with just one more rink to finish. That cruel outcome piled the pressure on Calum Logan who instead of defending what would have been a single shot lead now desperately needing to card a single to peel the match and a double to win.
Play in Logan’s final end was in progress and morale was high having skipped Cameron Greer, Blair Mackie, and Craig Moss into an impressive 25-15 lead over Piasley’s icon figure Jonathan Ross. Greer opened with two cracking lead bowls but the opposition second did a fantastic job of beating them both leading to a tension filled climax that saw Logan whiz narrowly past his target with two strike efforts – and paying the price with two shots lost.
West Lothian will reflect however on the heavy 20-11 setback suffered by the rink of James Greenock, George Sneddon, Jamie Gracie, and Mark Allison at the hands of John Gilmartin- and a particular spell where the home rink were outscored 14-1 over an eight end period. Neil Speirs picked up from 13-15 to beat J O’Sullivan 21-19 while the other final scores were, C Logan 25 J Ross 17; T Mann 16 D Stobo 20.