Bowls: West Lothian just keep nose in front

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The battle to finish top of the A section in the indoor bowls Premier League is far from over, although West Lothian remain two points clear of chief rivals Blantyre after managing to scrape a narrow six-shot away victory over Paisley.

West Lothian will be well pleased that wins on the rinks skipped by team captain Thomas Mann and Neil Speirs was enough to deliver the precious win points.

Mann played the major role in skipping Cameron Greer, Ian Drysdale and James Speirs to a 27-10 win over Derek Stobo, while it was an important plus when Neil Speirs skipped Stewart McMaster, Scott Logan and Bryan Cooper to a 26-22 success over Jonathan Ross.

Paisley did cause problems, though, with Charlie Millar beating Paul Lynas, Raymond Logan, Stuart Johnston and Mark Allison 25-16, while John Gilmartin added a 21-15 victory over Richard Mark, Blair Mackie, Derek Hagart and Calum Logan.

Meanwhile, a match of major significance was being played out at Tranent between East Lothian and Blantyre, with the outcome deciding who would emerge as the main contender to rival West Lothian for a place in the play-off final.

East Lothian were favourites to make home advantage count but in a battle royal, it was Blantyre that stole the honours with a tremendous fight-back from 20 shots down to score an 81-74 victory.

The result is a worrying one for West Lothian as Blantyre are near invincible at home and will entertain the current leaders in the final matches of the section, and do so with a shot margin bank almost equal to their rivals.

Prior to that clash, West Lothian could find East Lothian a handful when the teams clash in the New Year resumption while Blantyre are expected to win on their away trip to bottom Alloa.

East Lothian’s first home defeat leaves them too much off the pace on both points and shots so dashed any hopes of landing the Premier League title for what would have been the fifth time in seven years.