West Lothian suffered a second damaging blow to their qualifying prospects in the East section of The Cities and Counties Championship with last seasons national finalists crashing to a 17 shot defeat (124-107) from Fife County at Duffus Park.
WL now find themselves two points adrift of Edinburgh & Leith and East Lothian so dropping down to third place with a tough run in including away matches against the current top two. Duffus Park hasn’t been the happiest of hunting grounds down the years for West Lothian and so it proved once again with four of the visiting rinks failing to achieve supremacy over their immediate opposition. The combined defeat of the rinks skipped by Raymond Logan, Grant Logan, Thomas Mann, and Neil Speirs proved too much to be covered by the wins delivered by Steven Fleming and Sandy McDougall. West Lothian were favourites to win this one and the visitors did make an encouraging start having made the running to capture the first seven-end phase, 39-31, and they even showed signs of kicking on towards a comfort zone. The early stages of the second phase saw them card counts of 8-3, and 9-3, that accelerated them into a 19 shot lead (56-37) at which time no thoughts of defeat were being entertained.
Fife then started to make inroads to cutting their deficit initially by small increments however end 14 brought a game-changing moment with the Fifers producing a 13-0 clean sweep from out of the blue. The dramatic influence on the Master Scoreboard was the transformation from Fife being eight shots down to five up and it galvanised the home team while seemingly taking the steam out of the West Lothian effort. Fife captured that second phase, 49-36, then stayed on strongly to outgun their visitors, 44-32, on the third. West Lothian did have the consolation having the highest up rink in the match with Steven Fleming operating in flying mode to skip Brian Craig, Alec Allan, and Mark Allison into an 18-9 lead then jetting to a 28-9 victory with a 1, 4, 1, 2, 2, finish against D Crombie. But the only winning support came in the shape of a two shot success for Sandy McDougall who skipped Ewan Shearer, Gary Orr, and Stuart Johnston from 11-2 down to a 20-18 win over Gary Mackie. Fife were best served by the rink skipped by C Young who included a run of 1, 1, 5, 3, 1 as they accelerated from 8-6 to 19-6 then on to a punishing 29-12 win over Steven Forrest, Walter McDougall, Gary Smith and Ray Logan. Grant Logan and his rink of Drew Paterson, David Lamb, and John Aitken led 9-4 at one stage but suffered a severe collapse to 22-10 down and lost 25-13 to Chris Stein.
Thomas Mann and his front-three of John Black, Blair Mackie, and James Speirs showed well to lead 14-10 but conceded 1, 4, 3, 5, to be crossed 23-14 and lost 23-17 to Alan Pearson. Neil Speirs carded a 5 to skip Andrew Semple, Jamie Aitken, and Calum Logan into a 1-10 lead before slipping to a 20-17 defeat from James Forbes.
Bonnyriggs defence of The Co-operative Funeralcare sponsored Inter County Top Ten title has come to an end with the Midlothian champions putting up a bold fight but make a shot margin exit away to Kirkconnel. The points being shared 4-4 but the champions of Dumfreisshire edging through to the semi finals stage by a six shot superiority (68-62). Ace player Ronnie Duncan was an absentee due to international trial duty and with Lindsay Plenderleith also missing the action the re-shaped line-up saw Bonnyrigg deliver wins in the Pairs and Fours. John Stevenson skipped Calum Redpath to a 19-16 win in the Pairs while Daryl Dalgleish, Scott Lees, Scott Matthews, and Tam Russell managed a fine 17-12 win in the Fours. Jamie Hanlan made an encouraging start to lead Lee Marshall 6-1 in the Singles but the spearhead figure for the home side came onto a strong game and triumphed 21-10. The Bonnyrigg triple of Neil Linton, Drew Pearson, and Kevin McDougall went down to a 19-14 defeat.
Queensberry have first team stars Tam Ebbs and Scott Walker back in action for tonights EBL Division 1 match away to foot of the table Summerside and the formbook suggests opportunity knocks for the visitors to stay in the top three of the league table. Ebbs comes in to play third to Brian Pollard while Walker takes over at skip in place of Alan Watson who moves to third. The two players dropping down to 2nd Sixteens duty are Stewart Stevens and Ryan Lynch. Parkside welcome the return of stalwart figure Brian Salvona after illness and he lines up at third to Paul Veitch in tonights visit to relegation zoned Leith while Ewan Diven is an enforced absentee replaced by Steven Rennie at lead to Robert Donaldson. Other fixtures are, Northern v Maitland; and Hillside v Craigentinny.