West Lothian IBC are not out of the running but the three-in-a-row defending champions of the indoor bowls Premier League have surrendered the qualifying initiative in the A section to Blantyre following a surprise defeat at home to their chief rivals.Read more
Blantyre are a strong team that can’t be treated lightly and with an almost invincible reputation at home to win away against the titleholders brings West Lothian under pressure especially as its is the reigning champions second defeat at home. West Lothian remain at the top of the table despite their five shots defeat (70-65) but only on shot margin from Blantyre, Midlothian, and Abbeyview while Coatbridge are just two points adrift leaving Bainfield the only team out of the picture. The ‘match of the day’ at Livingston did live up to its pre-match promise as it was fought out on a tightrope situation that saw the scales finally tipped against the home team when they were outgunned 5-0 on the final ends across the four rinks. Wins for the rinks skipped by team captain Thomas Mann, and Neil Speirs were hard fought single digit affairs that were unable to cover the defeat’s suffered by Calum Logan, and Mark Allison. West Lothian will reflect on a missed opportunity to take a firm grip of the section having made a strong start to the match that saw them gain the initiative on all four rinks to establish a 12 shot supremacy (31-19) on the first seven-end phase. But that situation was reversed right across the carpet by a determined Blantyre fight-back that saw the visitors turn the tables with a 29-16 score on the second phase that edged them into a single shot lead. So it was all to play for over the third and final phase a situation where WL were expected to prevail but it was Blantyre that showed most true grit in the battle to the line and clinched two golden points with a 22-18 superiority. Given that the stakes were so high it is gut wrenching disappointment for the WL rink of Craig Moss, Des Hagart, Paul O’Donnell, and Calum Logan that they collapsed from 16-13 up to a 22-16 defeat from Scott Bishop, Logan and Co looked poised for victory after adding 3, 1, 2 to cross into a three shot lead after 16-ends but failed to register on the run conceding 1, 4, 2, 1, 1 with horrendous consequences for the match result. Allison and his rink of Paul Lynas, Raymond Logan, and Jamie Gracie made a bright start to lead Iain McLean 8-1 but lean times after that saw them lose 13 ends out of 16 and restricted to seven shots as the Blantyre icon figure powered to a 19-15 win. Mann skipped Cameron Greer, Ian Drysdale, and James Speirs into a promising 8-4 lead over Jim McCann but the score became deadlocked at 11-11 after 14-ends and with fireworks curtailing their game to 18 ends the home rink had to settle for a 15-12 win. Speirs included a mighty count of 5 as he skipped Bryan Cooper, Dougie Mitchell, and Stuart Johnston into a 9-5 lead over Brian Irvine but it was all to play for at 12-12 before the home crowd cheered a narrow 19-17 success. Seven of the 16 strong home team are included in the current international trial line up making Blantyre’s (2) triumph all the more eyecatching.
Balbardie IBC continue to fly in Division 1C of the ladies national league with win five from six coming in the shape of a sound team performance away at Tweedbank to beat the Galashiels club by 20 shots (87-67). Wins for the rinks skipped by Sharon Leitch, Margo Duff, and Pat Purdie covered the defeat of Delia Flannigan and inspired a Balbardie victory that keeps the Bathgate based club neck and neck with East Lothian at the top of the table. Leitch turned in the star performance with the talented Scotland cap including hefty counts of 5 and 6 as she skipped Catherine Lochran, Catherine Shearer, and Kim Ross to a 33-9 win over Marie Todd. Duff finished 2, 1, 2 to skip Betty Johnston, Jenny Leitch, and Gillian Hamilton to a 22-17 win over Ray Jefferson while Maria Adam, Anna Whyte, Margaret Scally, and Pat Purdie added 1, 1, 1 to snatch a 15-13 win over Eliz Bryon. Flannigan and her rink of Christine Smellie, Lynn Sinclair, and Jean Stevenson showed strong promise at 10-3 up but slipped to a 28-17 defeat from Lauren Upton.