West Lothian IBC’s bid to capture the Scottish Under-35 Cup for a seventh time came to grief at the last hurdle, the bowlers from the Inveralmond Stadium left frustrated by a 6-4 points defeat from Blantyre.
The final, played at Stirling, was a hard-fought battle and winning performances by the WL rinks skipped by Bryan Cooper and Calum Logan kept their team in the picture but ultimately failed to prevent Blantyre celebrating title glory for a sixth time.
It was the two points from the match aggregate that tipped the scales in favour of Blantyre with their 12-shot surplus (88-76) heavily influenced by the wins achieved by Stewart Anderson and Mark O’Hagan over Craig Moss and Cameron Greer, respectively.
The completion of end 13 brought encouragement to West Lothian as the master scoreboard flashed a 7-3 lead with scoreline advantages for Moss, Cooper and Logan supported by a 47-47 share of the match aggregate.
Moss had a five-shot lead over Anderson while Cooper, Logan and the aggregate were all cliff-edge affairs. However, Greer was eight shots adrift and under the cosh from O’Hagan.
End 14 was the trigger of game-changing events with Moss dropping five shots to Anderson, a mighty contribution from the world stage star that gave a great boost to his Blantyre colleagues. End 16 turned out to be a landslide moment for a Blantyre side that wreaked havoc in WL ranks with Iain McLean carding a mighty five against Cooper, O’Hagan a four against Greer, and Anderson a three against Moss.
A 12-1 score across the carpet thrust Blantyre into an 11-shot lead on the aggregate score (66-55) while Anderson crossed Moss 16-14 and McLean crossed Cooper 15-14, these outcomes transforming the main picture into an 8-2 deficit for West Lothian. Cooper fought back in the final straight to capture two points for WL and Logan stayed strong to clinch another two points, however, there was to be no way back for Moss or Greer.
Moss had skipped Ryan Miller, Connor McKendrick and Scott Logan into a 10-4 lead over Anderson then led 13-8 but a significant 17-4 collapse on the long run in cost them a 25-17 defeat. Greer and his front three of Jenifer Richardson, Jamie Deegan and James Greenock suffered a 15-2 mauling from O’Hagan over the first nine ends before succumbing 24-17.
Logan and his rink of Jordan Pearce, Scott McMaster and Blair Mackie were in dire trouble at 12-3 down after eight ends but hit back to edge a 20-19 win over Irvine. Cooper slipped from 12-7 to 14-15 then carded 4, 2 to regain the initiative at 20-15 then held on to skip Nathan McKendrick, Darren Pearce and Jamie Aitken to a 22-20 win over McLean.