Linlithgow captured the WLBA Top Five Singles title in thrilling circumstances as they edged an epic battle against Newbridge by 3 wins to 2 in the final at Middleton Hall.
Mark Graham proved to be a super-sub for Linlithgow as, with Gary Smith and Scott Mushet unavailable, he grabbed his opportunity and set the final alight by beating Newbridge icon Alec Allan in the first head-to-head to finish.
Graham’s 21-15 win in 21 ends was an immediate game-changer and the upset was signalled by an encouraging start to lead 8-2 then at 10-8 down he arrested that slide with a reply of 1, 4 to get back in front at 13-10.
A later run of 1, 3, 1 firmly installed Graham in the driving seat at 20-13 and he duly clinched a victory that was an inspiration to the Linlithgow camp.
Graeme Byrne put Linlithgow 2-0 up when from 10-10 he stretched to 15-11 and from 16-13 delivered a strong finish of 2, 1, 2 to beat Greg Baldry, 21-13, in 19 ends.
Newbridge made their presence felt on the third game to finish with Blair Mackie picking up the pace from 12-11 and accelerating to a good 21-13 win in 22 ends against fellow Hamilton Trophy colleague, Gary Orr.
Drew Paterson emerged a hero figure for Newbridge in game No.4 when, after being 13-3 down to Steven Fleming, he gave them a lifeline with a spectacular fightback that included a run of 4, 3, 1 to hit the front at 19-15.
Fleming hit back with 2, 2 to peel at 19, but Paterson served up a brilliant winner that trailed the jack for a 2 to 21. It was now “game back on” but, even so, Linlithgow were in the driving seat with David Alexander leading 18-12 against James Speirs. However, the Newbridge player battled back with four singles to menace at 16.
It was still a close call for the title at 19-17 in favour of Alexander as the momentum seemed to be with Speirs but in end 23 the Linlithgow challenger produced a brilliantly-judged “chap and lie”, then a perfectly-weighted draw to card a title-winning double to 21.
It was entertaining stuff and a thrilling climax.