Mike Simon scalps WL Master Brian Craig

Grant Logan, the record four-time champion, progressed to round three
Grant Logan, the record four-time champion, progressed to round three
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Reigning champion Brian Craig has lost his grip on the coveted West Lothian Masters crown with the 47-year-old No.1 seed from Glenmavis losing in the second round in the Scotmid sponsored event to dark horse Mike Simon of Oakbank.

Craig was favoured by a good venue in Kirkliston to step up his defence of the £1000 title but struggled to find a consistency of good weight and was punished in the early stages to stand 13-3 down after ten ends.

Simon sustained his pressure to have the 2014 champion at his 17-9 mercy and although it took him a further six ends he triggered victory with a single on end 22 to clinch a 21-14 win.

Three other seeds fell by the wayside: 42-year-old Ewan Shearer (No.6), 43-year-old Stevie Fleming (No.10), and 58-year-old Richard Mark (No.13).

Shearer – the 2001 Master – went down 21-10 to a 4, 1 finish from David Rodger of Harrysmuir; Fleming, finalist in 2005, lost 21-16 to Nathan McKendrick of Kirkliston, and Mark, a three times semi-finalist, was pipped in a 21-20 thriller by Ewan Snedden of Bellsburn.

Grant Logan, the 39-year-old No.2 seed, was probably favoured by a tough draw as the record four times Master knows he has to be on his toes. He followed up his 21-16 win over past champion of champions Kenny Black with the 21-10 scalp of Bob McKay, the current District Seniors Champion from Armadale.

Andy Dunnett, the 41-year-old No.3 seed, is bidding for a third Masters title and the reigning District Singles Champion stepped up his bid with a 21-3 demolition of Scott Murphy the 1999 Champion of Champions.

Gary Smith, the 56-year-old No.4 seed has played in three finals and won one and he reached this year’s third round with a 21-9 win over Tom Whitfield of Glenmavis. He was joined by 60-year-old No.5 seed John Aitken who is bidding for a fourth Masters title.

Cameron Greer, the 28-year-old No.7 seed and 2012 Master, escaped from 19-9 down to beat teenager Darren Pearce of Kirkliston, 21-20. The other seeds still standing are: Alec Allan (8), Walter McDougall (9), Glen King (12), Ray Logan (14), Jordan Pearce (16).