Victory keeps West Lothian on course for play-off final

Thomas Mann and Neil Speirs. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Thomas Mann and Neil Speirs. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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West Lothian, Section A leaders of the indoor bowls Premier League, proved too strong for Midlothian as they powered to a 27-shot victory (96-69) over their relegation-zoned visitors at the Inveralmond Stadium, Livingston.

The result kept West two points clear of Blantyre, but the leaders also have a massive 138-shot advantage over their chief rivals. With four games remaining, they hold a strong position in the race to qualify for the play-off final.

“It is frustrating we don’t produce the goods under pressure, but I am confident we have sufficient quality to escape automatic relegation and the play-off place,” said Midlothian team manager Frank Gray.

Midlothian currently share the bottom rung with Inverclyde and Bainfield, but both Gray and his Bainfield counterpart John Bell would feel happy with the news that Inverclyde had tossed away one lifeline having lost, surprisingly, 93-64 at home to Aberdeen.

West Lothian will be pleased with wins on three rinks – skipped by Thomas Mann, Calum Logan, and Mark Allison – but disappointed that in defeat Neil Speirs registered counts on just eight of his 21 ends.

The phase scoring shows Midlothian competing well over the first seven ends with WL edging it 28-27, but the home team then showed their class to capture the second, 36-20, and the third, 32-22.

Mann skipped Cameron Greer, Ian Drysdale and James Speirs to a 29-12 win over Jamie Macnab, Drew Pearson, Ronnie Duncan and Billy Peacock.

The highlight for Mann and Co came at end 13 with a mighty count of 5 accelerating them into a 17-8 lead.

Logan won 14 of 20 ends as he skipped James Greenock, Blair Mackie and George Sneddon to a 23-10 win over Ian Forbes, Danny McDougall, Davy Munro and Sandy (AJ) Knight.

Allison carded a 6 at end 5 to cross 8-4 but was held at 13-13 before skipping Paul Lynas, Richard Mark and Jamie Gracie to a 25-20 win over Jamie Aitken, Mark Yuill, Craig Hodge and David Peacock.

Speirs went well enough over the first 17 ends to skip Bryan Cooper, Raymond Logan and Des Hagart into a 19-17 lead over Lindsay Plenderleith, Kevin McDougall, Andrew Caldwell and Colin Walker.

But Walker and Co brought some pride to Midlothian with a super-charged finishing run of 6, 1, 1, 2 to score a welcome 27-14 victory for the visitors.