West Lothian suffered a second damaging blow to their qualifying prospects in the East section of The Cities and Counties Championship with last season’s national finalists crashing to a 124-107 defeat by Fife County at Duffus Park.
WL now find themselves in third place and two points adrift of Edinburgh & Leith and East Lothian and they have a tough run which includes away matches against the current top two.
Duffus Park hasn’t been the happiest of hunting grounds down the years for West Lothian and so it proved once again, with four of the visiting rinks failing to achieve supremacy over their immediate opposition.
The combined defeat of the rinks skipped by Raymond Logan, Grant Logan, Thomas Mann and Neil Speirs proved too much to be covered by the wins delivered by Steven Fleming and Sandy McDougall.
West Lothian did make an encouraging start, making the running to capture the first seven-end phase 39-31 and they even showed signs of kicking on towards a comfort zone.
In the second phase, West Lothiabn carded counts of 8-3, and 9-3 that accelerated them into a 56-37 lead, at which time no thoughts of defeat were being entertained.
Fife then started to make inroads to cutting their deficit and end 14 brought a game-changing moment, with the Fifers producing a 13-0 clean sweep from out of the blue.
The dramatic influence on the Master Scoreboard was the transformation from Fife being eight shots down to five up and it galvanised the home team. Fife captured that second phase, 49-36, then stayed on strongly to outgun their visitors, 44-32, on the third.
West Lothian did have the consolation having the highest-up rink in the match, with Fleming skippering Brian Craig, Alec Allan and Mark Allison into an 18-9 lead, then jetting to a 28-9 victory with a 1, 4, 1, 2, 2, finish against D Crombie.
But the only winning support came in the shape of a two shot success for McDougall who skipped Ewan Shearer, Gary Orr and Stuart Johnston to a 20-18 win over Gary Mackie.
Fife were best served by the rink skipped by C Young as they accelerated from 8-6 to 19-6 then on to a punishing 29-12 win over Steven Forrest, Walter McDougall, Gary Smith and Ray Logan.
Grant Logan and his rink of Drew Paterson, David Lamb, and John Aitken lost 25-13 to Chris Stein, while Thomas Mann and his front-three of John Black, Blair Mackie and James Speirs lost 23-17 to Alan Pearson. Neil Speirs carded a 5 to skip Andrew Semple, Jamie Aitken and Calum Logan into a 1-10 lead before slipping to a 20-17 defeat by James Forbes.