No1 seed John Aitken was the major casualty in Round 2 of the Johnston Oils sponsored 18th West Lothian Masters with the holder and four times winner of the signature Green Jacket joined on the sidelines by three other ranked stars in the shape of Andrew Semple, Alec Allan, and Colin Cruickshanks.Read More
Aitken faced tough opposition in the shape of Hamilton Trophy colleague Blair Mackie of Newbridge and the 61-year old Kirkliston ace was typically slow out of the starting block s to face a 9-1 deficit after five ends. If Blair is on his game then it is too big an advantage to give a player of his proven quality and it turned out to be his night as he continued to have Aitken in his grip at 17-8 then converted that supremacy into a commanding 21-9 victory in 18-ends.
Semple was entering the top 16 for the first time at No11 and the 25-year old junior cap from Newbridge enjoys a good singles record however he seldom got to grips with Keith Taylor of Bathgate who zipped from 14-11 to 21-11 with a run of 1, 1, 2, 3.
Allan has a history of good runs in previous Masters and the 54-year old No12 seed from Newbridge was campaigning to better his runners up spot in 2013 however the former Scottish and British Isles Pairs champion made a 21-17 exit to David McCormick of Bathgate.
McCormick – a one time WLBA champion of champions – fits the description of a top rated non-seed and in an epic 22-end battle he won the battle to the line from 15-14 to clinch a 21-17 victory.
Cruickshanks was making his first appearance as a seed at No13 and the 31 year old from Pumpherston found himself being severely tested at 15-8 down to Martin Healey of West Calder.
The seed responded well to fight back and stand peels at 17-17 but it was Healey that landed the killer blows in the shape of a 2, 2 finish to clinch a 21-17 victory in 23-ends.
George Sneddon of Broxburn – a former national singles champion and gold medal internationalist – made a 21-13 exit to Paul Sweeney of Newbridge while other non-seed notables to depart the scene included, Brian Saunders (Bathgate), Jamie Aitken (Newbridge) and Kirkliston’s Jordan Pearce and Nathan McKendrick.