West Lothian boost C&C bid with win at Midlothian

Steven Fleming
Steven Fleming
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WEST LOTHIAN fired themselves back into the race to finish in the top two places of The Cities and Counties Bowls Championship thanks to an impressive away win over Midlothian at Polton.

While the East section match didn’t reach epic proportions, it was fought on a tightrope at one stage. However, Midlothian’s first-half authority was strongly challenged in a second half that saw West Lothian surge to a 15-shot victory (117-102).

Grant Logan emerged the main driving force for West Lothian and his winning contribution was supported by the rinks skipped by Thomas Mann, Steven Fleming and Sandy McDougall.

Midlothian did make a positive impression with wins for Colin McFarlane and Ramsay Blair over Neil Speirs and Raymond Logan, respectively.

The first-phase picture looked to be developing encouragingly for Midlothian with a 12-shot lead (30-18) after four ends. However, they had to settle for a reduced five-shot advantage (37-32) at the close of the opening seven ends.

West Lothian were digging deep to cope with the home team pressure but were back to an 11-shot deficit (50-39) before making stronger headway to turn the tables with a 37-31 retaliation on the second phase.

With the master scoreboard showing one shot in favour of the visitors (69-68) entering the third and final phase, it was all to play for but the tough questions being asked were – for the most part – answered by West Lothian.

Colin McFarlane did punish Speirs severely over the final four ends but his great 10-0 effort (4, 2, 1, 3) couldn’t prevent the visitors clinching the match points with a powerful 48-34 finish.

End 8 produced a 10-4 count and an 11-shot match lead for Midlothian that should have given them fresh impetus but didn’t.

Ends 15, 16, and 17 were the game-changers in favour of West Lothian with the visitors carding scores of 10-2, 10-4, and 7-1 that accelerated them from a single-shot lead (69-68) to 21 putting them firmly in the driving seat approaching the finishing line.

Grant Logan made an early impact for WL, putting on 12 shots for the loss of one to skip Drew Paterson, David Lamb and John Aitken from 3-4 to 15-5 then on wards to a 22-9 win over Danny McDougall.

Mann pushed on from 9-8 to skip John Black, Blair Mackie and James Speirs to a 19-10 win over Colin Walker while Ewan Shearer, Gary Orr, Stuart Johnston, and McDougall came from 12-7 down to beat Ronnie Duncan, 23-19.

Midlothian’s MacFarlane celebrated two early counts of 5 to lead 14-5 in a punishing 30-15 win over Neil Speirs, while Ramsay Blair held on from 16-8 to beat Raymond Logan 20-19.