West Lothian fired on all six cylinders to power into the semi final stage of The Hamilton Trophy with a commanding 41 shot victory (146-105) over North section champions Perthshire at Parkview BC in Brechin.Read More
Perthshire had trumpeted a pre-match confidence of springing an upset against a star studded opposition that had just managed to slip through on the rails to snatch the runners up spot in the East section. But even with a region friendly venue to add to their positive state of mind a serious Perthshire challenge failed to materialise as it was immediately denied oxygen and suffocated by the opening acceleration of a West Lothian team fuelled up by a high octane enthusiasm.
Wins on five rinks and a peel on the sixth reflected a strong team performance from West Lothian although only two of their triumphs were achieved by a double-digit margin – the others being close fought affairs. The highlight wins being delivered by the rinks skipped by Andy Dunnett and Thomas Mann and supported by Raymond Logan, Neil Speirs, and Steven Fleming while Grant Logan had to settle for an equal share of his final score.
The match as a spectacle of nail biting anticipation was immediately denied that promise by a spectacular first phase performance that saw West Lothian hit the lids and race into a 30 shot dominance (57-27) of the opening seven-end exchanges. Dunnett was the chief destroyer of Perthshire hopes as he bombed into an 18-0 lead with an explosive run of 3, 1, 2, 5, 3, 4 while Mann (11-2) and Fleming (10-4) were also chief contributors to that opening blitz.
WL traded confidently on the cushion of their unexpected comfort zone but were much harder held with narrow phase advantages of 39-35 and 50-43 on the second and third phases respectively. Dunnett went on to concede two hefty counts of five but was always in control as he skipped Ewan Shearer, Scott Logan, and Calum Logan to a 34-16 win over former Scotland star Dougie Lambert.
Mann also dwarfed his opposition straight from the off having carded 4, 1, 1, 4 to skip Drew Paterson, Blair Mackie, and Sandy McDougall into a 10-0 lead then included a might 5 at the 14th as he went on to clinch a 26-14 win over David Hendry. Raymond Logan added 1, 1, 3 to cross into a 14-12 lead after 19 ends then hit the heights with the capture of a magnificent seven shots that enabled him to skip Darren Pearce, Scott Mushet, and Gary Smith to a 21-14 win over Ian Miller.
Speirs hit the front with a run of 2, 2, 3, to cross 17-11 after 17 ends then a battle to the line saw him skip Andy Semple, John Aitken, and Mark Allison to a 20-18 win over Gordon Baptie. Fleming looked in fine shape for a good day when skipping Steven Forrest, Andy Walker, and James Speirs Jnr into a 13-4 lead after eight ends but slippage on the run in forced him to battle for a 20-18 win over Peter Hosie.
Grant Logan also promised a healthy outcome when carding 5, 1, 2, 2, to skip Frazer Muirhead, David Lamb, and Greg Logan into a 10-3 lead but at the end of the day it took a four at the last to rescue a 25-25 peel with George Lennon.
West Lothian are unchanged when they face title- favourites Lanarkshire South at East Lothian Co-op in this Saturdays semi final. The other semi features Midlothian against Dumfriesshire at Garrowhill.