Four-time champion John Aitken of Kirkliston has bitten the dust in round two of the Johnston Oils-sponsored 19th West Lothian Masters with the No. 6 seed suffering a crushing 21-7 defeat from Newbridge challenger Alec Allan.
Allan was no doubt serving notice that he isn’t a spent force at the age of 55 having just dropped out of a regular place in the top 16 list of seeds and sidelined by WL during their Hamilton Trophy campaign.
The last time Allan didn’t figure as a WLM seed was in 2013 and his response then was to come within a sniff of beating Grant Logan in the final. His pedigree includes winning both a Scottish and British Isles Pairs title.
Logan, the 41-year-old No. 2 seed, stepped up his bid for a fifth fitting of the signature Green Jacket with a 21-15 win over Ian McFarlane of Kinneil, but he was hard pressed before a whirlwind finish of 1, 2, 3, 4 saw him home.
Thomas Mann, the 36-year-old No. 8 seed from Newbridge lived extremely dangerously before surviving a 21-20 thriller against Armadale dark horse Andy White.
White targeted the jack with a fierce strike at 20-19 down and sliced it for a single to 20-20 but would have snatched a headline victory had it gone straight into the ditch. Mann breathed a huge sigh of relief and edged the winning single at the next.
The venue at Blackburn was treated to a second 21-20 nail-biter with Walter McDougall of Glenmavis, the 2013 champion of champions, moving into the third round at the expense of tough Bathgate campaigner Stevie Pettigrew.
Adam Gilliland of Bankton Mains was a 21-20 winner over Nathan Davies of Pumpherston while Brian Campbell of Ratho was similar knife-edge victor over 2003 finalist Simon Lamb of Bellsburn.
Frazer Muirhead of Uphall Station, the youngest-ever Scottish and British Isles Singles Champion (1981), lost a 21-20 battle against the formidable Paul Sweeney of Newbridge.
A double at the last saw Davy Brown of Kirkliston snatch the win over Jack Murphy of Bellsburn while Kevin Norris of Bankton Mains progressed at the 21-20 expense of Linlithgow challenger Robert Wilson.
Dangerman Neil Speirs, the 38-year old No. 4 seed from Kirkliston, looked to be coasting at 17-8 up against tough cookie Davie Ross of Glenmavis but came under pressure at 17-15 and shot against. The 2002 Master and 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medal hero converted for a single then added 1, 2, 1 to win 21-15.
• Defending champion and top seed Greg Logan has been forced to withdraw because of personal reasons.