Exceptional Speirs is WLBA Champion of Champions

Neil Speirs shows off his WLBA Champion of Champions trophy
Neil Speirs shows off his WLBA Champion of Champions trophy
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NEIL SPEIRS produced a series of masterful performances to capture the WLBA Champion of Champions title at Linlithgow and etch his name on the Burnside Cup for a second time.

Kirkliston star Speirs, 36, conjured up five superb displays as he brushed off challenges from Gareth Simpson (Middleton Hall), David Rodgers (Harrysmuir), Martin Byrne (Linlithgow), Alan Baird (Seafield) and Bryan Cooper of Bathgate.

Speirs, who won bowls gold for Scotland in last summer’s Commonwealth Games, came out on top from a field of 30 and said: “It has taken me eight years to win the championship at Kirkliston and, whether you call it pressure or incentive, I knew that the traditions of the club demanded a serious challenge. I am thrilled to bits at joining Eric Logan, John Aitken and Grant Logan as a Champion of Champions from Kirkliston.”

Speirs launched his campaign with a commanding 21-13 win over Simpson, then caused an early-round sensation as he crushed the highly-rated David Rodgers 21-2 to set up a quarter-final clash against host club champion Martin Byrne.

Byrne put up a bold show to lead 8-2 and was very much in touch at 13-14 but Speirs powered to a 21-14 win with counts of 3, (1), 2, 2.

Speirs followed up with a spectacular display in the semi-finals to blitz Baird 21-2 in 12 ends and set up a head-to-head with Cooper in the final.

The final was all over in a quick 14 ends yet it was a classic encounter with Cooper serving up some good stuff but overshadowed by the fantastic form of Speirs, who kept the watching banking spellbound with a brilliant display to win 21-7.

A snapshot of the Speirs magic came on end 11 where Cooper lay two shots hugging the jack but both were killed by a superb inch-perfect facer for a single to 19-7. End 12 saw Cooper trail the jack through the head for a solid hold of two shots but Speirs served up a fantastic yard on split to finish on top of the jack for a single to 20-7 and followed up with the winning single on the next end.

Cooper may have come into the final weary as his semi-final clash with Peter Lynch of Whitburn had been a 30-end marathon that went right down to the wire and was decided by a wonder last-bowl delivery that resulted in a two-shot conversion for a 21-20 victory.

Quarter-final scores: N Speirs 21, M Byrne 14; A Baird 21, Graham Turnbull (Springgrove) 5; B Cooper 21, Greg Baldry (Newbridge) 14; P Lynch 21, David Lamb (Uphall Station) 11.