JOHN AITKEN answered periods of serious pressure to capture the Scotmid-sponsored West Lothian Masters title in the final day’s play at Oakbank Bowling Club.
The 60-year-old secured his fourth Green Jacket and pocketed the £1000 winner’s cheque, equalling the record number of wins achieved by his Kirkliston clubmate Grant Logan.
“It’s a real thrill to win the Masters for a fourth time. I’m off to the States on holiday soon so the grand is great news too,” said Aitken.
The No.5 seed booked his place in finals day with a 21-6 win over No.12 seed Glen King of Bankton Mains then produced wins over Stevie Pettigrew, Walter McDougall and Ryan Miller.
The other section results were: David Lamb (Uphall Station) 21, Steven Fleming (Buchan Park) 7; Walter McDougall (Glenmavis) 21, Gordon Logan (Kirkliston) 17; Stevie Pettigrew (Bathgate) 21, Jimmy Mallon (Broxburn) 11; Ryan Miller (Buchan Park) 21, Frazer Muirhead (Uphall Station) 16; David Rodgers (Harrysmuir) 21, Sandy McDougall (Glenmavis) 17; Walter Millar (Linlithgow) 21, Cameron Greer (Bathgate) 18; Brian Saunders (Bathgate) 21, Grant Logan (Kirkliston) 19.
Aitken was the oldest left standing from a field of 200 but his ability to dictate pace and tactical use of the mat was to prove paramount.
Aitken trailed Pettigrew 8-0 then 12-4 in their quarter-final but, helped greatly by a short-mat tactic, crossed 14-12. Then, from 16-15, won 21-17 with a 1, 1, 2, (2), 1 finish.
McDougall, the No.9 seed, made the early running in the semi-final to lead 7-4, 13-9, and 15-13 but the loss of a single to 14 was to bring bad news.
Aitken whipped the mat up the green and, although the head built up against him, ran the jack into the ditch for a single to 15-15 then battled to a 21-16 victory with counts of 1, 2, (1), 2, 1.
Ryan Miller had destroyed David Rodgers 21-2 and Walter Millar to reachj the final.
The 24-year-old started well to lead 3-0 but Aitken got off the mark with a good single then immediately took the mat for a walk – well up the green – and that sparked an amazing eight end run of 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 2, 2, 1 to lead 18-3.
Miller gained respite from a miscast jack and carded 1, 1, 1 to 6 but his consistency of weight had long gone and Aitken put him out of misery with a 2, 1 finish to win 21-6 in 16 ends.
Other quarter-final results: McDougall 21, Lamb 13; Millar 21, Saunders 15.