The 14th West Lothian Masters bowls event – a week-long competition sponsored by Scotmid Co-operative – gets under way on Monday night with defending champion Kirkliston’s Grant Logan heading the 230-strong field chasing the lucrative £1000 title and signature Green Jacket.
Logan (36) is a three-times Master having also tucked his arms into the sleeves of the Green Jacket in 2005 and 2009, and the winner of 30 full and 21 junior caps has ambitions to achieve a record-making fourth success. It’s a long way to the final-day climax at Broxburn on Sunday August 12 but if Logan makes it that far he will be parading his skills on the same green that he became West Lothian’s youngest ever Champion of Champions back in 1993.
John Aitken – the other three times Master, also from Kirkliston – isn’t in this year’s field due to a family commitment but the challenge to Logan’s grip on the title will be fierce with four other former Masters among the 16 seeds.
Gary Smith of Linlithgow is the No.2 seed, having triumphed in 2010 and been runner-up in 2011, and the 53-year old England/Scotland international star will no doubt be inspired by wife Lorna’s recent success in becoming Scottish Singles champion. Third seed Ewan Shearer is the current District and County champion, so the 39-year-old 2001 Masters winner from Bo’ness is the man in form, and the singles record of the internationalist includes winning the Champion of Champions title a record four times. Neil Speirs of Kirkliston is the No. 4 seed and the main claim to fame the 33-year old member of the Scotland elite squad has is winning the World Cup singles title in 2006. Speirs captured the Masters in 2002 and reigned as the national Under 25 champion in 2003.
Calum Logan of Kirkliston, 23 is a junior cap and senior trialist whose singles form includes being District Under-25 champion in 2005 and 2012. He will be trying to make amends for being a disappointing junior singles favourite at Ayr last week. Andrew Dunnett from Queensferry was the inaugural Masters winner in 1999 and won it again in 2007 under the Kirkliston banner. The 38-year-old sixth seed is back in the Queensferry camp.
The other seeds are: No. 7 Thomas Mann (Newbridge), (8) Raymond Logan (Kirkliston), (9) Mark Allison (Kirkliston), (10) Bryan Cooper (Bathgate), (11) Sandy McDougall (Glenmavis), (12) Blair Mackie (Newbridge), (13) Frazer Muirhead (Uphall Station), (14) Andrew Semple (Oakbank), (15) Greg Logan (Kirkliston), (16) Alec Allan (Newbridge).