Billy Mellors misses out on title glory in cruellest fashion

Billy Mellors was chasing a second Scottish Singles title
Billy Mellors was chasing a second Scottish Singles title
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East Lothian kingpin Billy Mellors suffered an agonising final defeat in his bold bid to become Scottish Indoor Singles champion for a second time.

The 42-year-old had the title in the palm of his hand against Paul Foster MBE before slipping to a 21-19 loss at Blantyre Miners IBC.

Mellors had traded blows with the five-times world champion in the early exchanges and gained a slight edge to lead 12-10. He then enjoyed a purple patch spell that thrust him in clear sight of the title at 17-10 after 16 ends.

Foster – aiming to etch his name on the coveted silverware for a third time – produced a sizzling fightback of 2, 3, (1), 3 to place the outcome in the melting pot at 18-18.

Mellors edged a single to 19 but came under intense pressure with the loss of a 2 to stand 20-19 down then, playing to a short-mat placement introduced by Foster, failed by a whisker to prevent his Prestwick opponent from registering a title-clinching single on end 23 of an epic encounter.

Mellors had survived a 21-20 nail-biter in his semi-final clash against 60-year-old West Lothian champion Richard Mark, who made a strong start to lead 13-6 but was crossed 15-13 before peels were called at 18-18.

Mellors battled across the line with a 1, 1, (1), (1), 1 finish in a thrilling climax to a 26-end confrontation. Foster produced a 1, 1, 3 finish in his semi to beat fellow world champion Stewart Anderson of Blantyre 21-17.

Lorraine Craig carried the Balbardie banner into the final of the Ladies Singles having played an absolute stormer to beat twice recent champion Lesley Doig of East Fife 21-17 in her semi but the Bathgate-based bowler ran out of steam in the final.

She was very much in touch at 8-7 down to fellow cap Caroline Brown of the host club but the defending champion engaged a higher gear and accelerated to a commanding 21-7 victory in 17 ends.

Craig also played skip to clubmate Sharon Leitch in the 2Bowl Pairs as they made a semi-final exit, losing 8-7; 3-10; 0-2 to Karen Magee and Rachael Sinclair of West of Scotland.

Midlothian’s Ronnie Duncan and Colin Walker appeared favourites in the Gents 2Bowl Pairs and delivered a powerful 11-3; 12-4 semi-final performance against Inverclyde but were edged out 9-4; 7-8; 1-2 in the final by Andy Barker and Mike Stepney of Elgin.

Midlothian teenager Jack Macnab conceded a hat-trick of singles to be pipped 21-20 in the Under-18 Singles semis by Michael Stevenson of Inverclyde, who then lost 21-20 to Dylan Robertson of Abbeyview.

• WEST LOTHIAN IBC in Livingston is the venue on Saturday (2pm-5pm) for the pilot trial of “The Generation Game” which is aimed at promoting and encourage a team dynamic between Under-17s, Under-25s, Mainstream, Ladies and Seniors.

The format sees two teams of 16 doing battle across five rinks in: 2 x 2Bowl Singles, 2 x 2Bowl Pairs, 1 x 4Bowl Singles, 1 x4Bowl Pairs, 1 x Triples and 1 x Fours.

The pre-selected teams, The Diamonds and The Eagles, will be spearheaded in the 4Bowl Singles by Commonwealth Games Gold Medal internationalist Grant Knox in one corner and former stadium champion David Wilson in the other.