Bathgate’s season reaches climax with Rosebery win

Bathgate Bowling Club ended an already memorable bowls season on a glorious high having iced the cake of their 150th Anniversary celebration by landing the Rosebery Cup at the expense of Kirkliston in the final at Buchan Park, Broxburn.

The crowning glory of an amazing 2012 for Bathgate was the result of a majestic team performance that saw Stuart Johnston the star of a show that also saw fellow skips Bryan Cooper, Billy Arnott and Brian Saunders applauded as top acts in their 91-55 victory.

Kirkliston entered the fray as favourites to etch their name on the West Lothian bowling association’s sought-after trophy for a 22nd time since the cup was first awarded in 1882 but the holders did face line-up concerns with John Aitken, Neil Speirs and Mark Allison all out.

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But their spine still looked strong with the Logan clan of Raymond, Grant, Calum, and Greg in charge of operations as the four skips, and supported by strong thirds in Dave Masterton, Gordon Logan, Derrick Meikle and Steven Forrest.

Bathgate, the first team to win the Rosebery, started without Alan McCormick and Matt Thomson but with club morale already on a high with title wins in the West Lothian Masters, The Champion of Champions, and the Top Ten tournaments they seemed more confident.

The first seven-end phase of the 21-end final was finely balanced with Kirkliston edging it 28-27 but Bathgate showed more aggressive authority in the second to capture it 28-16 then ensured a great climax with a 36-11 score in the third.

Grant Logan, a Scotland skip, said: “Bathgate were worthy winners but we did see them as a strong club and for that reason I believe we needed to be at our strongest to cope with them.”

Winning scores for Johnston, Cooper and Arnott ensured Bathgate’s triumph with the defeat of Saunders only loss, and that by a single on his last end.

Johnston enjoyed one of his finest hours on the outdoor scene as he orchestrated the Bathgate victory with an awesome display to destroy former Scotland skip Raymond Logan 31-9. Cooper then showed his skill and kept his cool as his rink, 10-7 down against Grant Logan’s men, roared back for a 22-14 win.

Arnott skipped Ian Drysdale Snr, Stephen Murphy and Grant Taylor to a 20-13 win over Grant Logan’s rink.

Saunders slipped from 11-11 to 11-18 but recovered to skip Paul Lynas, Eddie Boyle and Ian Drysdale Jnr back to peels before being pipped at the last by Greg Logan.