West Lothian gents remain in the relegation zone in Division A of the indoor bowls Premier League despite the recent three-in-row national champions showing improved form to defeat Arbroath 90-66 at home.
The victory was expected to move WL into safe territory with just one more fixture to fulfil. However, fellow strugglers Lanarkshire’s shock win over joint-leaders Midlothian was bad news for a West Lothian team due to end its league campaign with tough trip to division winners Blantyre.
West Lothian’s defeat of Arbroath sentenced their victims to automatic relegation but the Livingston-based club now enter their final fixture sharing the same six-point mark with second-bottom Lanarkshire rivals who have better prospects of a win albeit away to last season’s champions Paisley.
Wins on the rinks skipped by team captain Thomas Mann, Calum Logan and Neil Speirs comfortably covered the defeat of Mark Allison and delivered West Lothian a third win in nine – a depressing statistic for a star-studded team.
An uninspired opening saw them hard pushed to scramble a six-shot capture (30-24) of the first seven-end phase.
Logan’s 15-7 contribution on the second phase was pivotal to a stumbling WL effort being transformed into a 33-24 advantage and the youngest of the four home skips shored up a 27-18 success on the third with an 8-1 contribution.
Mann produced a captain’s performance to skip Craig Moss, Grant Knox and James Speirs to a 28-14 win over Sandy Pirie that was highlighted by a purple patch spell of 4, 1, 1, 2, (1), 2, (1), 5 and accelerated the score from 11-10 to 26-12. Logan recovered strongly from 5-8 to 24-15 and skipped Cameron Greer, Raymond Logan and Des Hagart to a 28-16 win over Drew Garvie.
Speirs led 13-5 and skipped Bryan Cooper, Dougie Mitchell and Paul O’Donnell to a 20-15 win over Paul Carnegie. Allison suffered a 21-14 defeat from Andy Furye.