West Lothian IBC’s bid to rekindle the form that delivered three indoor bowls Premier League titles in a row faltered in their opening match against current champions Paisley at the Inveralmond Stadium, Livingston.
The match was played out on a knife-edge from start to finish and went right down to the wire before Paisley delivered the goods in a thrilling climax to clinch a 76-73 victory.
To depart West Lothian with full points was a great result for last season’s surprise champions and they were worthy winners.
“When a game is balanced on a tightrope and the opposition is strong, the outcome is often decided by the breaks and I feel they didn’t come our way,” reflected WL team captain Thomas Mann.
He may have been influenced by the pain of his final end where his bold attempt to add a second shot resulted in the disaster of giving away a single that pushed Paisley into a 74-73 match lead with just one more rink to finish.
That cruel outcome piled the pressure on Calum Logan who, instead of defending what would have been a single-shot lead, now desperately needed to card a single to peel the match and required a double to win.
Play in Logan’s final end was in progress and morale was high having skipped Cameron Greer, Blair Mackie and Craig Moss into an impressive 25-15 lead over Paisley’s icon figure Jonathan Ross.
Greer opened with two cracking lead bowls but the opposition second did a fantastic job of beating them both leading to a tension-filled climax that saw Logan whizz narrowly past his target with two strike efforts – and paying the price with two shots lost.
West Lothian will reflect, however, on the heavy 20-11 setback suffered by the rink of James Greenock, George Sneddon, Jamie Gracie and Mark Allison at the hands of John Gilmartin and, in particular, a spell where the home rink were outscored 14-1 over an eight-end period.
Neil Speirs picked up from 13-15 to beat J O’Sullivan 21-19 while the other final scores were: C Logan 25, J Ross 17; T Mann 16, D Stobo 20.