Bowls: Singles success for Neil Speirs

Neil Speirs will be hoping to make an impact at this year's Commonwealth Games. Pic: Rebecca Lee
Neil Speirs will be hoping to make an impact at this year's Commonwealth Games. Pic: Rebecca Lee
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Neil Speirs has his sights set on glory at this summer’s Glasgow Commonwealth Games and the 35-year-old Kirkliston and Scotland bowler did his self-confidence a power of good by capturing the Singles title at West Lothian IBC.

Speirs lined up in the final at the Inveralmond Stadium in Livingston against his premier league and international colleague Mark Allison as the defending champion and showed a strong sense of purpose to score a commanding 21-14 win.

While Speirs led from start to finish and dominated the scoring in the 22-end final 12 ends to ten, Allison played well enough to force lots of high quality play from the holder.

Speirs achieved his first clear water break when carding a single followed by a three to lead 9-4 after nine ends then from 12-6 accelerated to 19 with a run of 3, 3, 1 that suggested it was all over for Allison.

Allison, however, managed to stir up interest on the busy banking with a spell of 2, 3, 2, 1 that brought him into the match at a threatening 19-14.

And to do so he had ruffled the Speirs feathers with some positive attacking play when ditching the jack for a two-shot reward to 13 then bursting up a jack-smothering hold of two to card a single to 14.

Allison continued to show menace with an excellent short trail to hold two shots at the next end but Speirs responded with a superb killer draw for a single.

Speirs opened end 22 with a deadly back-jack-toucher only to put it at risk when making an inviting target of it with his second delivery so was relieved when Allison’s strike effort only managed to wing out the second shot bowl. Having learned his lesson, Speirs produced a brilliantly judged blocker with his final bowl and Allison’s second strike attempt was deflected off its target.

Speirs now qualifies for the 2014-15 national singles and the chance to improve on his runners-up effort in the 2009 final and this season’s semi-final disappointment.

The winner of 36 international caps was also adding a record-extending sixth singles championship success on the domestic scene to his impressive career CV.