Bowls: West Lothian battle into Cup final

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West LOTHIAN IBC are through to the final of the Under-35 indoor bowls Scottish League Cup after overcoming the combined strength of Abbeyview and East Fife with a shot-margin victory following a tougher than expected confrontation.

The final will take place at Auchinleck IBC on Sunday, April 15, but, as yet, the opposition is unknown.

The West Lothian line up against the Fife combination was powerful on paper with Neil Speirs, Calum Logan, Cameron Greer, Jamie Gracie and Jenifer Richardson all having experience at international level.

Thomas Mann was down to play but was a late call-off and the experienced international star was replaced at skip by the switching of former Bainfield ace Gracie from lead while Claire Watson came in.

West Lothian didn’t actually power into the final but their excitingly impressive line up performed well enough at Midlothian IBC to beat the opposition by a comfortable margin of 17 shots.

Having served up superb displays and winning performances on the rinks skipped by Gracie and team captain James Speirs, they were held to a 4-4 share of the points due to the defeat of Neil Speirs and Calum Logan.

Gracie set the neutral venue alight with a sizzling count of six on his first end then added a three at the second to spark a spectacular opening spell that saw him skip Ryan Duffy, Scott Logan and Blair Mackie into a 16-4 lead after six ends.

Gracie and Co did experience a drop in pace but continued to dominate to lead 28-10 before suffering a late wobble but still finished up the top contributors with a good 28-17 win over Allan Ramsay.

James Speirs played an inspirational role as team captain to skip Jenifer Richardson, David Wilson and Bryan Cooper into an 18-8 lead after 13 ends then were rocked by the loss of a 5 but stayed on strongly to beat Paul Brown 25-15.

Neil Speirs started like a house on fire to skip James Greenock, Stuart Affleck and Paul Lynas into a 10-1 lead after four ends against Chris Stein but were soon caught up and crossed 11-10 then, after a battle to the line, were pipped 22-21.

Logan opened brightly to skip Claire Watson, Scott McMaster and Cameron Greer into an 8-2 lead over Rab McFarlane but suffered an alarming ten-end drought to be crossed 18-8 which eventually led to a 19-16 defeat.

“We looked to be in a healthy position at 6-2 up on points and a shot margin plus of 15 after 14 ends but then faced a bit of pressure that was eased by a strong 3, 3, 2 recovery on the run-in by Calum Logan,” said a spokesman for West Lothian.