West Lothian IBC won their foot of the table clash with fellow strugglers Lanarkshire in the highly competitive A section of the indoor bowls Premier League having tipped the scales with a strong middle phase that inspired them to a nine shot victory (84-75) on home territory at The Inveralmond Stadium.
It is a result that, with home carpet advantage, was on the cards with WL always in touch but suffering narrow defeat in their opening two matches while Lanarkshire arrived in Livingston with a 35 shot deficit compared to the 10 of their rivals. Wins for the rinks skipped by Thomas Mann and Neil Speirs banked a combined plus of 18 shots for the home team and that was more than enough to cover the defeat of Calum Logan and Mark Allison.
“It was vital that we got ourselves off the mark and not lose too much ground on the leaders and the hope now is that we can gain momentum and get ourselves back into contention for the section honours in the first instance”, said Mann The match was a hard fought encounter with Lanarkshire having the better of the first phase exchanges however only by the narrow margin of three shots with the master scoreboard showing the seven-end score 27-23 in the favour.
West Lothian did have reason to be encouraged however and it was provided by Mann with the team captain making a flying start that included two superb counts of four, and a three as he skipped his rink into a 13-5 lead over John Simpson. A middle phase transformation saw West Lothian move into a higher gear that accelerated them to a significant 37-24 supremacy and a match lead of nine that build confidence within the home ranks and introduced a hint of doubt into the opposition.
The major figure for West Lothian during this period was Neil Speirs with the gold medal star including a mighty count of five as he skipped his rink to an 11-5 contribution that was supported by plus margins on the other three rinks. Lanarkshire are not a team expected to capitulate under pressure and true to reputation they made a battle of the third phase but unlike their opening two games West Lothian stayed resolute and happily settled for a 24-24 share. Mann led 16-10 after 11-ends then made telling space to 23-10 with a run of 3, 2, 1, 1 then went on to skip Paul lynas, Ian Drysdale, and James Speirs to a good 27-16 win over Simpson. Speirs helped himself to two inspirational counts of 5 in a 15-11 lead after 14-ends and ended the match with a pressure easing count of three as he skipped Bryan Cooper, Raymond Logan, and Paul O’Donnell to a 22-15 win over Sandy Syme.
Logan (Calum) had much work to do at 9-3 down after seven ends but undid a 2, 3, 2, 1 fight back by losing a five to trail 14-11 after twelve however excited the stadium when carding a five at the 16th to skip Cameron Greer, Connor McKendrick, and Craig Moss into a 20-17 lead. The opposition skip was icon figure Robert Grant and late counts of three, and two sentenced Logan and Co to a 22-20 defeat – with three of the 21 ends left un-played. Allison suffered his third defeat in a row when in company with James Greenock, Dougie Mitchell, and Stuart Johnston they slipped from peels at 10 after 12-ends to a 22-15 defeat from Stewart Hume.