Bowls: Visitors lose out in battle of the Wests

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West LOTHIAN bowlers lost their top-of-the-table clash with West Fife and crashed to a surprisingly heavy 137-101 defeat at Lumphinnans in the East section of the Cities & Counties Bowls Championship.

“We had an off-day and paid the price against a home team that is always competitive and fully deserved a win that saw them lead us from start to finish,” said a spokesman for West Lothian.

It’s a result that suddenly plunges newly elected team boss Jimmy Mallon into a crisis, as West Lothian now share the second place with Midlothian and Edinburgh & Leith, and are behind both on shot margin.

Wins for the rinks skipped by Grant Logan and Raymond Logan brought some consolation to Mallon but defeat – three of them heavy – for Steven Fleming, John Aitken, Thomas Mann and Neil Speirs, gives him some cause for concern.

West Lothian did show a glimpse of their true form to edge the second seven-end phase of the match 44-39 but West Fife had dictated the first, 50-33, and then dominated the third, 48-24.

West Fife’s signal of intent came on the very first end and it was a strong one in the shape of a 13-0 count across the six rinks, and their grip on the match remained so impressively dominant that WL were always in a double-figure deficit.

The first source of West Lothian’s tale of woe centred on the rink of Diz Drysdale, Walter McDougall, James Speirs and Fleming, who only managed to count at five ends as they crashed to a nightmare 29-7 defeat from Rab McFarlane.

Aitken – a former Scotland skip – and his rink of Ian Humble, Sandy McDougall and David McCormick went down 19-5 with the loss of a 6 at the eighth end and found no way back in a 31-16 defeat from Jim McGuire.

Mann’s rink of Ewan Shearer, Blair Mackie, and Calum Logan shaped up well enough at 8-7 down but slipped to a 27-14 defeat from Stuart Pagan.

Speirs and his front-three of Cameron Greer, Ian Drysdale and Alec Allan were 13-9 up but lost 22-16 to Kenny Bald.

Grant Logan skipped Steven Forrest, Greg Logan and Mark Allison to a 24-8 win over Paul Brown while Frazer Muirhead, Bryan Cooper, Gary Smith and Ray Logan beat Jim Gilruth, 24-20.