Day one of the Scotmid-sponsored £4000 West Lothian Masters bowls saw the week-long event robbed of four of its 16 seeds with Gary Smith at No. 3 – the 2010 champion and 2011 finalist – the highest ranked to bite the dust.
Smith, of Linlithgow, was joined on the sidelines by Mark Allison (11) of Kirkliston, Greg Baldry (12) of Newbridge, and George Sneddon (15) of Broxburn. Smith made a 21-19 exit to Brian McMahon of Broxburn in a 21-end cracker of a match at Middleton Hall with the international legend of England and Scotland international teams finding himself coming immediately under the cosh at 13-1 down.
Smith knuckled down though, and he fought back into contention with scores of 1, 1, 4, 4 and 2 to stand all square at 13-13 then he answered the loss of a single with 1, 2, 1 and 2 to have victory in his grasp at 19-14.
Then, in a sensational climax, Smith was left pole-axed by a stunning recovery from McMahon who hit 21 and victory with a run of 3, 1, 3.
Allison came against the collar 12-8 down to John Paterson of Harrysmuir and the 39-year -old didn’t come up with any positive answers in a 21-13 defeat. Baldry, 21, lacked the killer instinct against Joe McLelland of Harrysmuir.
District junior champion Baldry, failing to justify his elevation to a seed, had to come back from 15-7 down only to blow a 19-15 lead as McLelland raced to 21 with a run of 1, 1, 2 and 2.
Sneddon pulled out too late to be replaced as a seed, which gave S Smith of Philpstoun a walkover, while high profile casualties among the non-seeds included Hamilton Trophy players Walter McDougall of Glenmavis and Steven Forrest of Kirkliston.
Cameron Greer the holder and No.1 seed of Bathgate High worked hard for a 21-11 win over Mark Bonnar of Glenmavis while Grant Logan (2) also had a walkover against Seafield’s R Eddie but John Aitken (4), Ewan Shearer (5), Andrew Dunnett (6) Sandy McDougall (7), Ray Logan (8), Stuart Sneddon (10), and Glen King (13), all scooted home.