West Lothian keep bid for third straight title on track

Neil Speirs. Picture: Ian Georgeson.
Neil Speirs. Picture: Ian Georgeson.
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West Lothian’s bid to win the indoor bowls Premier League title for the third season in a row has got off to an encouraging start with win No. 2 in the A section achieved at the 86-61 expense of Aberdeen at Livingston.

The result, built on the opening away victory over Midlothian, came courtesy of wins on three rinks – skipped by Calum Logan, Neil Speirs and team captain Thomas Mann – reflecting a strong team performance, especially as the losing rink skipped by Mark Allison only suffered a narrow two-shot defeat.

Aberdeen refused to be cannon fodder for the WL big guns and, after nine ends played, were bang in contention with a deficit of only three (38-35) .

West Lothian opened impressively to capture the first seven-end phase, 33-22, but were rocked when Aberdeen fought back to win the second, 28-22, and within five shots of the home side.

End 15 became significant in the shape of a 6-2 score that stretched WL into a nine-shot match lead and proved to be the springboard for the home side to bank the win points with a 31-11 domination of the third and final phase.

Yet Aberdeen had still posed a threat as late as the 17th end when their deficit was still in single figures. However, WL wiped the gathering sweat from their collective brows with a timely 8-0 clean-sweep on end 18 that moved them into a comfort zone of 17 shots up (77-60).

Logan emerged the hero for WL as he picked up the pace from 14-12 down to skip James Greenock, Blair Mackie and George Sneddon to a significant 27-14 win over Mark Stephen having produced a whirlwind finishing run of 3, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2.

Speirs slipped from 9-2 up to 12-9 down but sparked a revival with a purple patch of 4, 2, 2 to cross to 17 then skipped Bryan Cooper, Dougie Mitchell and Des Hagart to a 22-14 win over GJ Forbes.

Mann dropped four shots on the opening end but recovered to lead 13-6, then, despite losing a 5 at the 17th, went on to skip Cameron Greer, Ian Drysdale and James Speirs to a 23-17 win over Kevin Pirie.

Allison, having skipped Paul Lynas, Raymond Logan and Jamie Gracie into an 11-10 lead after 13 ends, slipped to a 16-14 defeat against Eddie Gallan.

Also in the A section, newly-promoted Inverclyde lost 83-78 at home to Blantyre.