West Lothian had their dreams of achieving title glory in The Cities and Counties Championship for The Hamilton Trophy smashed to smithereens by a Lanarkshire South opposition that trounced them by 37 shots (142-105) in their semi final clash at East Lothian Co-op.Read More
A gutted West Lothian camp had little to cheer at the end of an anti climax team performance that saw Grant Logan emerge the only successful skip while his colleagues Neil Speirs, Thomas Mann, Steven Fleming, Raymond Logan, and Andy Dunnett all played second fiddle to their respective oppositions. Both teams were psyched up to gain an early supremacy and with WL showing 38-28 ahead after seven-ends on five rinks it suggested that it was they that looked set to call the tune.
But Lanarkshire South were dancing to a different music score on the sixth rink and it was a centre stage 18-1 chart buster of a performance that saw their rink skipped by Stuart Simpson dwarf Neil Speirs and Co, and sentence them to the pits.
West Lothian’s depressing 46-39 setback on that first phase was a situation encored on the second where a 29-29 share over five rinks was knocked haywire by the 13-2 loss of Andy Dunnett, the 42-31 outcome stretching the LS match lead to 18. A strong third phase revival from WL would have set up a grandstand style race to the winning line but that wild hope was crushed first end in with Grant Logan dropping a seven, and with Thomas Mann heading for a 10-2 deficit the final outcome was the humbling 54-35 domination of Lanarkshire South. Final Rink Scores; Grant Logan 23 Stewart Anderson 21; Andy Dunnett 20 John Simpson 22; Ray Logan 13 David Gardner 19; Steven Fleming 17 Iain McLean 26; Thomas Mann 15 Robert Grant 26; Neil Speirs 17 Stuart Simpson 28. Midlothian beat Dumfriesshire, 130-124.
Five seeds bit the dust over the opening two rounds of the Johnston Oils sponsored West Lothian Masters with the No 6, John Aitken of Kirkliston the highest ranked to lose sight of the £1000 title and the signature Green Jacket. Aitken made a second round exit to 2013 finalist Alec Allan of Newbridge being soundly defeated 21-7 by a former long serving Hamilton Trophy team mate anxious no doubt to signal that at 55 he is no spent force in County circles.
Four seeds bit the dust in Monday nights Round 1 with the No 9, Brian Craig of Glenmavis, crashing out to a 21-9 defeat from the highly competitive, and motivated, Brian Saunders of Bathgate, a finalist in 2000.
The exit of 28year old Kirkliston star Calum Logan (No10) was a major shock as he had shaped up well to lead Andy Mitchell of Pumpherston 14-10; but a surprising loss of both line and length caused his dramatic collapse to a 21-15 defeat.
Brian Cooper (No13) of Bathgate, a finalist in 2008 made an early exit at the hands of Rab Shaw Jnr of East Calder, just touched off in a 21-19 thriller; while teenager Darren Pearce (No16) of Kirkliston was piped 21-20 by Jim McKinnon of Armadale. Grant Logan, the No2 seed and four times Master, was hard pushed to reach the third round having been forced to conjure up a magic finishing run of 1, 2, 3, 4 to score a 21-15 win over Ian McFarlane of Kinneil at Newbridge. Logan’s father Gordon was unable to cope with Derek Kerr of Armadale in their first round clash while Grant’s 10year old son Kyle lost to a former Champion of Champion in the shape of Walter McDougall of Glenmavis.
The WLM was hit and concerned by the news that Grant’s younger brother Greg, the No1 Seed and defending champion from Uphall Station, had been forced to withdraw on Tuesday night due to family circumstances.
A close 21-20 outcome in Round 1 saw Ruary Love of Bellsburn nip Alan Robertson of Blackburn; while World and Commonwealth Games Gold Medal winner George Sneddon of Broxburn was big name casualty. Losing to Andy Jenkins of East Calder. A major Second round drama saw No 8 seed Thomas Mann of Newbridge survive by the skin of his teeth in a 21-20 thriller against Andy White of Armadale while another 21-20 nail biter saw Walter McDougall edge out Stevie Pettigrew of Bathgate.
Adam Gilliland of Bankton Mains was a 21-20 winner over Nathan Davies of Pumpherston while Brian Campbell of Ratho was similar knife-edge victor over 2003 finalist Simon Lamb of Bellsburn. Frazer Muirhead of Uphall Station, the youngest ever Scottish and British Isles Singles Champion (1981), lost a 21-20 battle against the formidable Paul Sweeney of Newbridge while a double at the last saw Davy Brown of Kirkliston snatch the win over Jack Murphy of Bellsburn. Kevin Norris of Bankton Mains progressed at the 21-20 expense of Linlithgow challenger Robert Wilson.
The venues for tonight’s (Thur) Last 32 play are; East Calder, West Calder, Linlithgow, Middleton Hall, and Bathgate. The Friday sectional final venues are, Deans, and Broxburn, The Final Days play is at Kirkliston on Sunday and one of the highlights is the installation of 90-year-old Peter Ball of Blackburn into the WLBA Hall of Fame.
The Seeds still standing entering Wednesday’s Third round of the Johnston Oils £4000 19th WL Masters were.
No 2. Grant Logan; No 3 Andy Dunnett; No 4 Neil Speirs; No 5 Ewan Shearer, No 7 Gary Smith, No 8 Thomas Mann, No 11 Cameron Greer, No 12 Mark Allison, No 14 Raymond Logan, No15 Sandy McDougall.
The highlight of next weeks national calendar is the weeklong staging of the Bowls Scotland Championships at Ayr Northfield with the West Lothian area hopeful of achieving a share of the Scottish Title’s glory.