Bowls: Kirkliston edge into Top Ten final

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Defending West Lothian BA champions Kirkliston almost came a cropper in this week’s local Top Ten semi-final action.

They played neighbours Newbridge at Armadale and faced the exit door until escaping to victory in a dramatic climax.

Their hero was club legend John Aitken, who came in as a late substitute for Scotland cap Calum Logan to skip the Triple. Aitken was left on the green in isolation with his front-two of teenager Jordan Pearce and Andi Gray and arrived at the final end needing to count two shots against Stuart Affleck, Jim Speirs and Blair Mackie, in order to steal match victory.

Aitken and Co had been ahead 12-7 but, faced with shot against the skip, burnt the jack; then, under the same pressure, did an encore on the replay before holding one and then superbly adding a second to win 14-7 and secure Kirkliston’s place in the final.

“Big John hasn’t played for us much this season due to circumstances but what a substitute to call in at the last moment,” said team captain Grant Logan.

Logan – also captain of Scotland and West Lothian this season – lost to his international colleague Thomas Mann in the Singles but played a crucial part in the shot-margin count by recovering from 13-4 down in his eventual 21-15 defeat.

Newbridge looked in the ascendency when Jim Aitken, Ian Robertson, Greg Baldry and Alec Allan led 11-1 against Robbie Cuthell, Gordon Logan, Dave Masterton and Mark Allison in the Fours.

Allison and Co did well to fight back and only lose 14-13 but Kirkliston seriously needed a win and it was delivered in the Pairs by Steven Forrest and Raymond Logan who just edged a 14-13 thriller over Drew Paterson and James Speirs.

Bellsburn beat Harthill 6-2 in the other semi-final.