Gary Smith is new West Lothian Champion of Champions

Gary Smith
Gary Smith
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Gary Smith has won the Bankton Mains sponsored WLBA Champion of Champions title.

The Linlithgow club champion beat James Speirs of Newbridge 21-14 after a battle across 27 ends at Bankton Mains, Livingston.

Smith set the pattern of the final with an accurate and consistent lead bowl that enabled a 10-8 advantage after 16 hard fought ends – still all to play for however.

Ends 17 to 20 signalled a game-changing spell with a run of 2, 1, 2, 2 thrusting Smith into a commanding 17-8 lead. Speirs, older brother of Neil, did show signs of a fightback with a good count of 3 to 11 and then stayed in contention at 19-13. But Smith hit 21 by carding two singles for the loss of one.

Smith said: “Winning the champion of champions title in a hot bed like West Lothian does give me a great sense of achievement and for us amateurs getting your name on the trophy and into the record book for posterity is part of what it is all about – it was my lead bowl that did it for me I believe.”

Capped by both England and Scotland, the 58-year-old Englishman was etching his name on The Burnside Trophy as the 41st CofC with the 2017 event being the 40th Anniversary of its launch as a WLBA (then Linlithgowshire) Major in 1977.The husband of former World No.1 Lorna Smith, he is widely known around the sporting globe as chief executive of World Bowls Ltd.

Smith had a real ding-dong battle with recently crowned County Singles champion Glenn King of West Calder in his semi-final. He was under pressure at 18-17 down but escaped to 21 with a full house of 4.

Speirs was locked on 11-11 after 14 ends with Stuart McKie of Kinneil in their semi-final but, from 14-12, added 2, 2 to 18 and won 21-13.

Smith’s campaign started with him flying in from South Africa late Friday night then on Saturday he showed excellent touch to be beat Grant Ramsay of East Calder, 21-15, and Callum McLean of Oakbank, 21-5.

Sunday’s quarter-final action saw him defeat Andy Forrest of Middleton Hall, 21-12, at which stage James Speirs was defeating David Hay of Polbeth, 21-11.