Mixed success for Linlithgow bowls duo

Lorna Smith in action.
Lorna Smith in action.

Tuesday’s opening play in the mixed pairs of the national championships involved the Linlithgow partnership of Lorna Smith and Graeme Byrne who grabbed the headlines with a thrilling extra end victory over Cumnock having defended leads of 10-3 and 14-11.

Byrne came in as a sub for Gary Smith who was unable to play due to a meeting in his capacity as CEO of World Bowls.

Gary will be okay though to skip the Linlithgow rink in the fours.

Kirkliston introduced a super-sub in their seniors four with former national singles champion Raymond Logan coming in to replace Charlie Kellet and play third to his brother Gordon.

The ‘Cheesetown Boys’ progressed into round two with a 16-9 win over local challengers Ayr and another good result on opening day for Kirkliston was the 21-16 win for Doreen Reeder over St Ninian in the seniors singles.

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Thomas Mann is the spearhead for the West Lothian challenge in the Bowls Scotland National Championships unfolding at Ayr Northfield this week.

The 33 year-old from Newbridge will be well fired up for his tilt at the singles title.

Mann has 21 caps to his name and as a member of the elite squad was a valuable support member of the Scotland Team that won three gold medals in the Commonwealth Games which ended last weekend.

West Lothian’s District Champion will certainly arrive at Ayr on a high however danger does lurk in today’s first round as his opposition comes in the shape of the 2013 world indoor singles champion – Stewart Anderson of Ayrshire.

The strong field includes other elite squad members in the shape of Colin Walker and defending champion Iain McLean while personality figures don’t come any bigger than 36 times capped Ian Campbell of Lanarkshire.

The omission of Lorna Smith from the Commonwealth Games team cost Scotland the strong chance of gaining more medals and the Linlithgow star will be focused on winning the singles title at Ayr for a record third time in a row.

The field is strong and her opening challenge is an interesting one in the shape of Commonwealth Games team member Claire Johnston of Auchinleck.

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A field of 101 will contest the Weslo Housing sponsored WLBA seniors open with play commencing on Tuesday, August 12, at 11.30am and the final day’s play scheduled for Glenmavis on Thursday, September 4.

Three former Champion of Champions from the mainstream spice up the action in the shape of Frank Barker (Oakbank 2004), Peter Ball (Blackburn 1981 and 1994, and Ronnie Erskine (Winchburgh 1983/86/88.

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The second round results in the WLBA Top Five singles were: Deans 2 Armadale 3; Newbridge 3 Mid Calder 2; Bellsburn 3 Kinneil 2; East Calder 1 Bathgate 4; Ratho 2 Linlithgow 3; Bridgeness 3 Springgrove 2; Blackburn 3 Kirkliston 2; Pumpherston 4 Buchan Park 1.

The quarter-finals will be played on Tuesday, August 12.