West Lothian marked their return to the indoor bowls Premier League in encouraging style with the seven times champions producing a battling performance to beat Falkirk by nine shots (78-69) in the opening match played at the Inveralmond Stadium, Livingston.Read More
Falkirk represented the toughest of tests with the visitors arriving as last seasons Scottish Cup winners also Runners Up in the Premier League, a recent record that tipped the scales of favouritism in their favour.
West Lothian entered the battle without the services of high profile cap Thomas Mann while the late call off from Des Hagart, a former Player of The Year, caused a reshuffle that saw Jordan Pearce plucked from the reserve bench. Questions were soon being asked of a home team put under early pressure so it was a pleasing response that last seasons Division 1 North champions showed they had rediscovered their premier league bottle especially against top class opposition. With the entire match being played out on a precarious knife-edge it was wins on the rinks skipped by Calum Logan and James Speirs that carried the day over setbacks suffered by Mark Allison and Neil Speirs.
The match statistics show WL winning all three phases; but the margins were all single figures, nosing the first seven-ends, 25-24, the second, 28-22, and the third 25-23. The number of ends scoring was an equal share of 42/42. Calum Logan was the early hero figure of the boisterous home support as his skipping of Blair Mackie, Raymond Logan, and Jamie Aitken into leads of 9-0 and 21-5 kept the master scoreboard reflecting a WL lead despite the others being under pressure. It is greatly to the rinks credit that they avoided what would have been a costly late wobble to return a 25-14 win over internationalist Steven Allan. West Lothian desperately needed a rink to support the lone spearhead role being played by Logan and Co so it was a crucial match-clinching contribution that came from James Speirs and his front-three of Jordan Pearce, Scott Logan, and Craig Moss. Speirs had his hands full at 13-9 down to star opposition figure Steven Glen but set the Inveralmond Stadium alight with a magical spell of 3, 3, (1), 3, (1), 3 that propelled him into a 21-15 lead then finished on a 4, 2 high to triumph, 27-17.
Allison and his rink of Ian Drysdale, Connor McKendrick, and Cameron Greer were nip and tuck to stand peels at 9-9 after 12-ends but shipped four singles on the trot and from 13-9 down went on to lose 17-15; having contributed a valuable count of 3 at the last end against Jim McHutchison Neil Speirs is the talisman figure of WL so it is to the team credit that they coped with the setback of a 21-11 defeat dished out to the 42 times capped skip and his rink of Bryan Cooper, David McCormick, and Grant Knox by Gary Flynn.