West Lothian share centre stage with formidable opponents Lanarkshire South in Saturday’s final of the high prestige Hamilton Trophy at Ayr Northfield with the defending champions bidding to capture the Scottish Cities and Counties crown for a 12th time.
West Lothian served up a brilliant team performance in last Saturday’s semi final against far travelled Bon Accord at Newbattle and the rerun of the 2018 final saw WL improve on their 17 shot success as they powered to a spectacular 58 shot victory (144-86). The result in the other semi final saw Lanarkshire South impress with a 127-109 win over Glasgow West at The Rock BC, Dumbarton.
The final of the historic Rosebery Cup (1882) played at WLBA President Tommy Sutherland’s green at West Calder was a battle of modern day giants Linlithgow and 25 times champions Kirkliston.
Linlithgow etched their name on the WLBA Holy Grail club trophy for a seventh time in an epic encounter that went right down to the wire before triggering a triumphant victory salute with an 80-74 scoreline. A high standard of quality and exciting play over the four rinks and from both teams made the final a memorable one and although Linlithgow always dictated the pace on the running total of the master score board a gallant Kirkliston team only lost on one of the four rinks.
And although there were heroic individual performances galore from both teams the chief architects of the match victory were the Black Bitches rink of Andrew Cruickshanks, Fraser Simpson, Derek Logie and Andrew Dunnett. Dunnett dominated the final by skipping his front-three to a magical 31-17 win over a sharply focused 21 ends having conjured up a magnificent opening 13-ends to lead 22-5.
With the strongly formed opposition rink of Kyle Broadley, Derek Meikle, Greg Logan and Raymond Logan rocked back onto their heels Dunnett and Co showed little mercy as they added 2, 1, 1, 5 to lead register an inspiring 31-18 lead after 18 ends. Logan’s closing rally of 3, 5, 1, did help keep the final alive and gave The Cheesetown Boys a fighting chance approaching the finishing line.
Ewan Shearer and his rink of Tom Hamilton, David Gray, and Scott Mushet were being asked serious questions at 14-10 down after 17-ends to Andy Suddon, Gordon Logan, John Aitken, and Grant Logan. Shearer answered the pressure in admirable fashion with a run of 1, 2, 2 to cross 15-14 then conceded a single to finish all square at 15-15.
Another battle royal saw the rink of Derek Cochrane, Gordon Baillie, Scott Murphy, and Gary Smith stand peels at 12-12 after 13-ends against Alan Close, Robbie Cuthill, Mark Allison, and Calum Logan. Logan produced the stronger finish to edge a 20-16 win however the two shots registered by Smith in the final end was a significant contribution to a Linlithgow team that had sweat beginning to form on their brows.
Steven Fleming and his rink of Andrew Grimshaw, Alastair Wilson, and Martin Stein were playing out of their skins to hold a 13-9 lead at 11 ends over Steven Forrest, Scott Logan, James Speirs, and Neil Speirs.
Late counts of 4 and 5 saw Speirs and Co send the climax temperature of the final sky high and a spectacular burnt jack on the penultimate end kept the pot at boiling point but his 22-18 win wasn’t enough to steal the glory from a Linlithgow team that had played the big bools at the important times..
The final of the Junior Open for The Fred Meikle Trophy takes place at Glenmavis BC tonight and features 4 times title winner Calum Logan of Kirklisto against former clubmate Jordan Pearce now of Middleton Hall.
Tonight’s (Thur) quarterfinals of the Top Ten features, Blackburn v Buchan Park; Linlithgow v Ratho; Queensferry v Kinneil; Bellsburn v Kirkliston.