Bowls: West Lothian slay Coatbridge in style

Neil Speirs was on top form for West Lothian. Pic: Alistair Pryde
Neil Speirs was on top form for West Lothian. Pic: Alistair Pryde
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Defending Premier League bowls champions West Lothian bounced back to claim a spectacular 79-shot victory over Coatbridge on home territory in Livingston.

Having crashed to a surprise defeat to Midlothian in their opening game, West Lothian were in no mood to take prisoners as they romped to double-figure wins on all four rinks.

The sizeable 127-48 triumph had skips Mark Allison, Thomas Mann, Calum Logan and Neil Speirs on top form. The wake-up call to the three-in-a-row champions was sounded by Thomas Mann, with the return to the line-up of the West Lothian captain making a huge difference to the focus and fighting spirit of a team that had lacked both against Midlothian.

And the captain led by example from the off as he carded three shots on the first end then went on to include a four and a five as he skipped Cameron Greer, Ian Drysdale and James Speirs into a 14-4 lead on the first seven-end phase.

West Lothian captured 
the first phase 36-21, then raced to a 49-13 domination of the second phase to lead by 51 shots after 14 ends.

The key figure of the second phase was Mark Allison, who skipped Paul Lynas, Raymond Logan and Jamie Gracie to a 20-1 superiority that included the fantastic roof-raising moment of carding eight shots on the 12th end.

West Lothian remained strong across the carpet to win the third phase by a handsome 28 shots and complete the destruction of the visitors.

Allison ended up basking in the limelight of being the highest-up contributor having enjoyed a highlight run of 1, 3, 2, 8, 1, 5, to lead 26-7 then including a five at the last as he skipped his rink to a 36-11 win over Gordon McKenzie.

Mann won 17 of his 21 ends and following the early lift of a five at end seven and from 19-11 after 11, he put Jim McLarrie to the sword by skipping his rink to a run of 1, 2, 1, 1, 2, 1, 1, 1,2, 2 to triumph 33-11.

Logan made a strong start to skip Craig Moss, George Sneddon and Paul O’Donnell into a 9-0 lead after four ends and coped with the four end lapse that followed by serving up a positive performance to beat Robert Murphy 31-12.

Speirs was being well held at 8-8 after nine ends, but exploded into more exciting action with a run of 2, 1, 1, 2, 2, 1, 6 to skip Bryan Cooper, Dougie Mitchell and Stuart Johnston into a 23-8 lead then on to a 27-14 victory over Gary Prunty.

“We bounced back from our opening defeat in the most awesome manner and the level of performance suggests that we are capable of going on to capture the premier league title for a fourth time in a row,” said a spokesman for the WL camp.