Bowling round-up

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A magnificent team effort saw West Lothian IBC make a successful defence of the indoor bowls premier league title.

They did so in great style as they led from start to finish to beat arch-rivals East Lothian by nine shots in the final at Auchinleck.

West Lothian always had command of the scoreboard but the match was never one-sided with East Lothian pressing on several occasions but never quite able to suppress an opposition intent on completing a hat-trick of titles.

Both clubs came into the final with the impressive record of having won the sport’s most coveted club crown on six occasions and the latest battle for supremacy lived up to expectations in a tense atmosphere helped by the enthusiasm of a large travelling support.

There was much to like and applaud about West Lothian’s 80-71 victory starting with them exploding from the blocks to race into a 22-3 lead after two ends having rocked East Lothian with counts of 9-2, 13-1.

There were two principal contributions in the shape of five and seven from the rinks skipped by Thomas Mann and Mark Allison at the first and second end respectively.

Mann and Allison went on to cash in on their inspirational starts to return winning scores and were joined by a strong contribution from Neil Speirs.

Calum Logan had to settle for second best against East Lothian captain Billy Mellors.

The phase scoring highlights the value of West Lothian’s strong start as they dominated the first seven-ends, 33-20 but were edged out 25-22 and 26-25 by an East Lothian team that fought tenaciously right to the final bell.

Speirs was buzzing from the off and in that mood the Scotland cap has a charisma that reaches across the carpet so there was added value to him building on an exciting 2, 4, 3 start to skip Bryan Cooper, Dougie Mitchell, and Des Hagart to an 18-11 win.

All credit though to the EL rink of Colin Cook, Jamie Gordon, Willie Wood MBE, and Scott Kennedy who refused to cave in.

Allison will look back with pride that he tamed Alex Marshall by skipping Paul Lynas, Raymond Logan and Jamie Gracie to a 25-17 win.

It was a win worth its weight in gold as, having led 14-6, Allison and Co had to answer pressure when Marshall closed to 17-16 at the 16th end.

Mann played a memorable captain’s role having delivered a stirring pre-match team talk then answering a 16-11 deficit with a spectacular run of 4,3,1,(3),4 to skip Cameron Greer, Ian Drysdale and James Speirs to a 23-19 victory.

The opposition rink raised hopes of an EL revival carding a five at end 14 to have Mann at their mercy.

Logan looked sure to make the WL dominance complete when skipping James Greenock, Blair Mackie and George Sneddon into a 12-5 lead after 12 ends but Mellors included a super 6,4,1,3 finish as he skipped to a defiant 24-14 win.

“We were well psyched up for this epic confrontation,” said a spokesman for West Lothian.