Bellsburn win their first WLBA Top Ten by downing giants

The Bellsburn players beat champs Kirkliston
The Bellsburn players beat champs Kirkliston
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Bellsburn sprung a shock over Kirkliston in the final of the White Knights-sponsored WLBA Top Ten Championship.

Bellsburn, from Linlithgow, came into the match at Glenmavis as massive underdogs having never ever won any major WLBA title while Kirkliston are the most successful club ever in the history of the sport in West Lothian, boasting a Top Ten record of 11 County and four National title wins.

“It is the first time that Bellsburn has even contested a major final so that was a great occasion for us, a fantastic achievement that you just dream about,” said Bellsburn spokesman Eddie Caulfield.

Kirkliston were defending champions and recent runners-up to Bonnyrigg in the National championship, and they made a great start by scoring a commanding win in the Singles.

Kirkliston’s main figure was Grant Logan, Scotland captain and record four times winner of the WL Masters, and although facing a significant opponent in Simon Lamb, he brushed him aside 21-10 in 18 ends.

Logan zipped into an 11-3 lead and when faced with potential menace at 16-10 he answered with a grandstand run of 1, 2, 2 to 21.

With two points and a good 11 shots in the bank it seemed Kirkliston only needed a second success from the remaining three games to celebrate a return to the national scene in 2015. But that win never came.

Ray Logan skipped current cap Steven Forrest to a spectacular count of six on end four of the Pairs to lead 6-4 and kick start the challenge against Bellsburn’s Sam Gray and Craig Yeaman.

It was 10-10 after eight ends but the script took a dramatic twist when the Bellsburn partnership embarked on a run of 5, 1, 4 to 20 and that set the scene for a dramatic 25-16 upset.

Neil Speirs is a rescue-type figure so the outcome looked promising when the Commonwealth Games Gold medal winner skipped his Kirkliston front-three of Robbie Cuthill, Gordon Logan and Mark Allison to a 5, 2, 1 recovery in the Fours. Recovery because Speirs and Co were closing to 9-10 having been outgunned 10-1 over the opening seven ends by the Bellsburn rink of Scott Middemiss, Dave McQueen, Colin Hamilton and stalwart veteran Eddie Caulfield.

But the expected follow-through didn’t materialise with Bellsburn showing the strongest desire and they were rewarded with a battling 14-12 win which put the cat amongst the pigeons.

The spotlight swung onto the Triples with the focus on Kirkliston trio Jordan Pearce, Andi Gray and current cap Calum Logan expected to save the skins of their colleagues.

But they had their hands full at 12-8 down to Stuart Mackay, Jack Murphy and Alan Murphy, and although Gray burnt the 
final head and carded two shots on the replay it wasn’t enough to avoid a 12-11 defeat.