The 2018 finals of the West Lothian BA County Championships hosted by historic Bathgate BC (1862) and played on a well-manicured Green attracted a large crowd from ‘A the local airts and pairts’ that appreciated the title challengers across five disciplines parading their skills to great entertaining effect.Read More
Sponsors Fred Winter of Jack High Club Insurance (Singles/Triples/Junior Open); Mark Feeney of Glenmavis BC (Pairs), and Kirkliston BC (Fours) were warmly welcomed by WLBA President Ian McGill of East Calder.
Capturing the Singles (1903) title and possession of the Baillie Trophy is the Holy Grail target of the championships and the latest king pin to have his name etched on the precious silverware caused a stir on the banking as Jim Speirs of Ratho was considered to be the underdog.
Speirs – father of Super Star Neil and Hamilton Trophy ace James – lined up against the legend figure of Ewan Shearer whose crowded CV title achievements includes a record 5 Champion of Champions wins – 3 District Single’s – 2 County Singles – 1 WL Masters – and 14 club championship’s at Bo’ness; (now with Linlithgow). Early signs of a form-line upset were signalled by Speirs making a super-sharp start to lead 9-2 then when faced with menacing pressure at 11-8 answering with a full house count of 4 that rocked Shearer back onto his heels.
Speirs sensed the opportunity to be entering the record book of WLBA history if remaining strong and resolute in terms of focus and bottle and showed both by adding 1, 1, 3, to have the trophy in the palm of his hands. Two ends later (17th) he answered the loss of a double with a memorable single that clinched a superb 21-10 victory – and the applause that acclaimed him the County Singles Champion.
The final of the Junior Open for The Fred Meikle Trophy (1975) was contested by two players of Hamilton Trophy status – Jamie Aitken of Newbridge with West Lothian – Mark Thorburn of East Calder with Midlothian. Both challengers have shown major championship winning potential in a positively developing career and on this occasion it was Thorburn – who play bowls in both West and Mid Lothian – that reigned supreme with a powerful display to win 21-13 in 21-ends. Aitken nosed an 11-10 lead after 14 hard fought ends; but the game-changing highlight came with Thorburn storming to 17 with a whirlwind run of 3, 2, 1, 1 then answering the loss of a 2 with a grandstand finish of 1, 3 to 21. “I am thrilled to bits at joining the top notch names on the Meikle Trophy but my grandfather (Alec) will be over the moon and that’s a massive bonus to me”.
Having captured the District Singles title on top of last seasons Champion of Champion triumph Gary Smith of Linlithgow is still turning on the style at 59 and the CEO of World Bowls Ltd is now celebrating the capture of the County Pairs title and Dalyell Shield. Smith skipped Scott Murphy to a 14-10 win over Robert Saunders and Peter Lynch of Whitburn; but were hard pressed in an epic battle that required Linlithgow to (just) edge successive singles from 12-10 with two ends to play.
Kirkliston achieved a record extending 14th success in the Triples for the McLardy Trophy with the Logan dynasty of Gordon, Calum, and Grant delivering a 27-7 win over luckless Bankton Mains trio, David Gilliland, Kevon Norris, and Scott Taylor.
Winchburgh dominated the final of the Fours (Hopetoun Cup) with Brian Clarkson skipping David Gemmell Jr, Tam Johnston, and Craig Gourlay into a handsome 15-2 lead then defeating Steven McGlinchey, Jim Deacon, Colin Brown, and Gareth Simpson of Middleton Hall, 19-5.
Armadale is the attractive venue for Saturdays final of the WLBA Top Five Singles (2PM) with the stars from Linlithgow and Kirkliston going head to head on the battle for one of the major County titles.
There was traumatic drama in the semi finals action with Bathgate (High) holding the ace hand against record holding Kirkliston at Broxburn; but forced by heart wrenching circumstances to concede defeat. With the match balanced on a cliff-edge at 2-2, the last match on the green saw Bryan Cooper lead Grant Logan 19-16 having just carded a magic 3 – however in running up to the head an audible crack in the Achilles’ Heel regions resulted in a crippling effect on the Bathgate star. Logan and KBC gave the distraught Bathgate camp some 40 minutes for Super Cooper to recover, or field a substitute, but being unable to do so Bathgate very sportingly conceded a match clinching third victory to KBC. Neil Speirs (21-8 over David McCormick) and Raymond Logan (21-18 over Rab Hilson) had kept Kirkliston in the picture while Bathgate had cheered wins for Cameron Greer (21-10 over Mark Allison), and Alan McCormick (21-13 over Stevie Forrest).
Meanwhile the other semi final action played at Bankton Mains resulted in a straight 3-0 win for Linlithgow over Broxburn. Gary Smith 21 Alan Roxburgh 5; Andy Dunnett 21 Jamie Edwards 9; Gary Orr 21 Scott McMaster 16; Ewan Shearer 11 Stuart Mcmaster 12; Steven Fleming 12 James Bird 16.
WESLO SENIORS OPEN – THE LAST 16 LINE UP FOR TODAY (THURS) AT VENUES BUCHAN PARK AND BANKTON MAINS. READS;
ALSO The quarterfinals are at Winchburgh on Tuesday 28th followed by the Semi Finals and Final at Glenmavis on Thursday 30th. (11am and 2pm).