WEST Lothian bowls stars Bryan Cooper, James Speirs, Thomas Mann and Neil Speirs were in sparkling form in the playdown action of the Scottish Fours Championship at Abbeyview and emerged with a place in the semi-finals.
The decisive stages of this season’s national championships take place at Fraserburgh over the weekend of March 30-31 and the domestic champions of West Lothian earned their place in the line-up with impressive wins over Balbardie, Tweedbank, Falkirk and Midlothian.
The opening match, against Balbardie, could have been tricky but Spiers and Co delivered a resounding 30-13 victory over the rink of Peter Lynch, John Ellis, Ian Robertson and Sandy McDougall.
It was a result and performance that made West Lothian firm favourites against Tweedbank and they duly delivered a comfortable 25-17 victory to set up a match against Falkirk.
The opening exchanges against the Falkirk rink of Greg Hutchison, Graham Dawson, Stuart Hogg and Tom Cochrane were hard-fought with the Central Scotland side leading 9-8 after nine ends but an amazing change of gear produced a run of 2, 3, 5 to put WL into an 18-9 lead.
WL dropped a three to 18-12 but then transformed the match into one-way traffic as they captured the next five ends for a 28-12 victory.
The section final against the accomplished Stephen Currie, Martin Wylie, Ronnie Duncan and Colin Walker of Midlothian shaped up as a cracking encounter and fully lived up to that promise.
Midlothian had reached that stage with an encouraging 24-16 win over Perth in the preliminary round then emerged from their first-round battle against Coatbridge with a 20-18 win to reach the second round.
Lanarkshire stood between Walker and Co and a place in the section final and the outcome hung in the balance at 14-14 after 16 ends but a run of 2, 1, 1 tipped the scales in favour of Midlothian who went on to win 19-15 over Jim Meikle’s rink.
WL were against the collar early doors to trail 6-3 but crossed to 7-6 before coming back under pressure at 12-9 down after 14 ends. The response of Speirs’ rink was to trigger a thrilling fight back of 3, 1, 2, 3 that thrust them into a 18-12 lead and with just three ends to play they held on for a hard-earned 19-16 triumph.
The opposition for WL in the semi-final in Fraserburgh will be Prestwick while the other title contenders are Garioch and Ardrossan.
The rinks of Bainfield (Alloa), East Lothian (Coatbridge) and Portobello (Prestwick) all went out in the prelim round.