Bowls: Top Five cup destined for Uphall Station

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IT is 37 years since the innovative Top Five Singles format was introduced to the sport by the then Linlithgowshire Bowling Association and Uphall Station came into last night’s 2013 final hoping to break their duck having fallen at the last hurdle on six previous occasions.

Their prospects of making it seventh time lucky didn’t look too attractive as the opposition at Armadale were defending champions Kirkliston who were bidding to extend their record number of titles to 13.

But the folklore down the coming years will tell the story of Frazer Muirhead, David Lamb, Derek Mairs, Liam Failey and Mark Allan upsetting the form book with a memorable 3-2 victory. Yet the signs of an Uphall Station success looked unfavourable when Muirhead crashed to a 21-10 defeat at the hands of Derrick Meikle in the first game to finish.

Muirhead seemed to have got over a sluggish start when carding 2, 4 to get himself back on level terms at 10-10, however Meikle fired up Kirkliston with a spectacular run of 3, 2, 1, 3, 2 to win in 17 ends.

That should have inspired the holders but it was the Station players that were fired up and none more so than Lamb who was in the process of giving junior cap Calum Logan a real roasting at 20-4 up. Logan did improve to 11 before Lamb finally gave him the chop with a single to win in 18 ends.

Mairs faced legend figure John Aitken and was doing well to hold his own at 10-9 up then a four-end run of 2, 2, 2, 1 saw him zip to 17 before stitching up the former national singles champion 21-14 in 20 ends.

Uphall Station were in the driving seat at 2-1 up and now looking favourites to go on and win the title with Fairley having Mark Allison at his 15-8 mercy, however there was a touch of sweat on the brow before he delivered a 21-15 victory in 22 ends. Fairley’s 2, 1 finish from 18-15 triggered the Station celebrations and removed the pressure from Allan whose outcome hung in the balance at 16-16, however his eventual 21-19 defeat from Steven Forrest was of no consequence.

Meanwhile, the club championship final at Maitland in Edinburgh last night produced a career high for 66-year-old Alan Flockhart as he surpassed himself (own words) to beat hot favourite James McDonagh, 21-17 in 25 ends.

It was Flockhart’s first championship success having lost one final in his early days at Fountain and two at Maitland while world stage figure Graeme Archer ended his dreams in two semi-finals at Sighthill.

“I am pinching myself at getting my name etched in gilt on the championship board,” said Flockhart who turned the tide in his favour from 12-12 to 19-13.