THE youthful Ireland team of Catherine Beattie, Megan Wilson, Andrew Kyle and Mark Wilson epitomised those immortal Fleetwood Mac lyrics ‘people out there turning silver into gold’ at the 11th European Bowls Championships on the Channel Islands at the Le Creux Bowls Club in St Brelade, Jersey today.
Demonstrating great consistency to claim silver medals in all three disciplines – missing both the men’s and women’s pairs gold on shots aggregate after being equal top scorers – the Ireland quartet were the toast of the championships when they emerged with team gold at the colourful closing ceremony.
Of the disciplines, Guernsey’s Matt Solway and Matt Le Ber clinched the men’s pairs gold medal after a three-way countback with Kyle and Wilson, along with Scotland’s Jason Banks and Greg McLachlin; while England’s Jamie-Lea Winch and Rebecca Wigfield won the women’s event with a comfortable shots difference over Beattie and Megan Wilson.
In the mixed fours it was the Welsh team of Bethan Russ, Emma Gittins, Chris Klefenz and Chris Ashman who emerged with the gold medal, with Ireland team’s shots clinching the silver ahead of Scotland’s Emma McIntyre, Natalie Docherty, Jason Banks and Greg McLachlin.
The field of 16 bowling nations across Europe included UK powerhouses England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, along with representatives from Guernsey, Jersey, Isle of Man, Spain, Turkey, Switzerland, Cyprus, Germany, Netherlands and Israel. The bowls fraternity warmly welcomed the two men and two women teams from fledgling nations France and Hungary who gave their best and clearly enjoyed their first forays on the international stage.
Men’s pairs: Gold: Guernsey (Matt Solway & Matt Le Ber) 23 points +67 shots; Silver: Ireland (Andrew Kyle & Mark Wilson) 23 +59; Bronze: Scotland (Jason Banks & Greg McLachlin) 23 +56.
Women’s pairs: Gold: England (Jamie-Lea Winch & Rebecca Wigfield) 24 points +99 shots; Silver: Ireland (Catherine Beattie & Megan Wilson) 24 +62; Bronze: Cyprus (Diane Roberts & Linda Ryan) 22.
Mixed fours: Gold: Wales (Bethan Russ, Emma Gittins, Chris Klefenz & Chris Ashman) 25 points; Silver: Ireland (Catherine Beattie, Megan Wilson, Andrew Kyle & Mark Wilson) 22 +54; Bronze: Scotland (Emma McIntyre, Natalie Docherty, Jason Banks & Greg McLachlin) 22 +44.
Photo: Ireland’s newly-crowned European champions Mark Wilson, Catherine Beattie, Andrew Kyle and Megan Wilson.