The dream of West Lothian IBC landing the Premier League title for a record equalling fourth time in a row is well and truly over with the defending champions having to settle for third place in their 10 match A section campaign.
It looked a hopeless cause for the stars of the Inveralmond Stadium when charged with the task of beating chief rivals Blantyre away in the last weekend’s final fixture and so it proved as they failed to raise their game sufficiently high in a 75-68 defeat.Blantyre had only lost one home match in the past five seasons and their already high level of confidence was boosted further by the knowledge they had inflicted defeat on West Lothian when going head to head with the defending champions earlier in the campaign.The writing had come on the wall early in the campaign for WL with the star studded side of five current international players failing to cope with Midlothian in an opening match defeat at Livingston.That was the first of four defeats for the reigning champions who can have no complaints at finishing in third spot having lost home and away to both of their main rivals – Blantyre and Midlothian.Failure of a team to live up to expectations in a league campaign can be costly for those in the international frame but on this occasion no harm has come the way of Neil Speirs, Thomas Mann, Calum Logan, Mark Allison, and Bryan Cooper.The good news being that all five have retained the confidence of the Scottish Selectors and are set to extend their international career in the Home Championship Series at Stanley in County Durham come March 12 to 14.Speirs – who almost hauled WL over the line single-handedly with some great campaign results – has been an ever-present for Scotland since making his debut in 2003 and his 13th series is represented by 39 caps.Mann moves his cap mark up to 24 with 8 series on the trot from 2008 while by the end of the 2015 Stanley venture Logan will have achieved 15 caps, Allison 15, and Cooper 9.Speirs will skip Cooper, Martin Williamson of Ardrossan, and Mann in the international arena while Logan plays second to Stewart Anderson of Auchinleck, and Allison is third to Darren Burnett.The final placings in the premier league section play were as follows.Blantyre 14 (+146). Midlothian 14 (+58), West Lothian 12; Abbeyview 8, Bainfield 6 (-89), Coatbridge 6 (-187).Paisley 14 (+70). Aberdeen 14 (+63), East Lothian 12, Falkirk 8, Lanarkshire 6 (0), Ardrossan 6 (-100).
Meanwhile Balbardie IBC enjoyed some encouraging moments but ended a disappointing campaign in Division1 North with a 79-54 defeat away to Fraserburgh.Their record of 4 wins from 10 saw them drop down from a one time high of second down to third bottom.Arbroath 18, Turriff 12, Alloa 10, Balbardie 8 (-26), Fraserburgh 8 (-92), Dundee 4.West Lothian IBC and Balbardie have no representation in the National Championship Finals taking place at Fraserburgh over this weekend.