Bowls: West Lothian off to a flier with fine win

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WEST LOTHIAN are leading contenders to claim one of the two qualifying places in the East section of The Cities and Counties Bowls Championship and they launched their campaign with a commanding 35-shot victory (134-99) over West Fife at Queensferry.

Wins on the rinks skipped by Neil Speirs, Thomas Mann, Raymond Logan, Grant Logan and Steven Fleming were hard earned while it was also a pleasing factor for team manager Jimmy Mallon that the defeat of Sandy McDougall came by a single shot.

WL went 5-2 down on the opening end across the green but reversed that situation with a swift 7-1 count on the second and their supremacy on the major scoreboard went unchallenged thereafter, having peaked with a 46-shot lead on end 11.

Ends 5 and 15 provided major highlights for West Lothian in the shape of 12-0 clean sweeps that in the first instance doubled their match lead from 12 to 24 and in the second tightened their grip on the opposition from 26 to 38. West Lothian raced into a 52-25 capture of the first seven-end phase. However, West Fife arrested their slide and edge the second 38-37.

Entering the third and final phase, WL lost ground on three rinks but scored well enough on the other three to win it 45-36.

Speirs skipped Paul Lynas, Walter McDougall and Mark Allison into a 16-3 lead after nine ends as a result of (2), 1, 4, 3, 2, (1), 1, 4, 1 counts against A Kennedy before clinching a 24-12 victory.

Mann led John Black, Blair Mackie and James Speirs to a magnificent count of seven on end three but it eventually took a strong 4, 4, (1), 2 finish for the rink to score a 27-16 win over Paul Brown.

Raymond Logan enjoyed a super 6 at end seven and a mighty 5 at end 16 as he skipped Steven Forrest, Ian Drysdale and Gary Smith to a 28-19 win over Kenny Bald. Grant Logan produced a mighty 5 at end eight to cross 10-6 then made good headway with Drew Paterson, Alec Allan and John Aitken to lead 22-12 before settling for a 22-20 win over Jim McGuire.

Fleming set up a good 17-9 lead before finishing a 19-17 winner over C Watson while McDougall was pipped 15-14 by a 2, 1 finish from Rab McFarlane.