The fact that it was a ‘glorious failure’ made the pain of defeat even more severe for Bellsburn as the West Lothian champions made a dramatic 4-4 exit on shot margin (9) to Burnbank of Lanarkshire in the semi-finals of The Co-operative Funeralcare sponsored Inter County Top Ten Championship at Eddlewood in Hamilton.
The climax was a truly traumatic one with the Bellsburn partnership of Sam Gray and Craig Yeaman defending a 17-16 lead going into the final end of the match, and needing at least a peel to clinch a 5-3 result for a place in the final.
Bellsburn had led 12-6 and holding shots against former indoor caps Gerry Sullivan and Jim McCann but the lead expertly ditched the jack that led to the damaging loss of a 6 then further counts of 1, 2, 1 to cross 16-12.
Bellsburn rallied boldly with counts of 3, 1, 1 to regain the lead at 17-16 but faced a strong head against them when Yeaman came to play his do-or-die final delivery. The pressure was intense but Yeaman looked inch perfect to draw the game clincher, and match winner, however the slightest of fades on his bowl caused it to dip inside the jack and it came to rest six inches away.
To the consternation of Bellsburn – but the joy and relief of Burnbank – Yeaman’s bowl had gone two inches too far to kill the second shot against them, costing them an 18-17 defeat and leading to a 4-4 share of the points; but match defeat by nine shots.
Spearhead figure Scott Middlemiss had inspired the Bellsburn effort with a strong recovery from 4-11 to cross 15-14 then from 17-19 added 2, 1, 1 to snatch a 21-19 win over Michael Docherty in the Singles.
The rink of Gordon Snedden, Davy McQueen, Eddie Caulfield and Simon Lamb converted a 12-6 lead into a 16-11 win in the Fours over Scott Fair (skip).
But the roof had caved in on the Triple of Stuart Mackay, Jack Murphy and Alan Murphy who suffered a 22-7 defeat. Bellsburn beat Strathmiglo 6-2 in the third/fourth play-off.