Contenders set for South Wales gold rush
All roads lead to the Penylan Bowls Club in Cardiff tomorrow where four nations will strike gold at the sensational Atlantic Championships.
It’s the culmination of the event’s first tough week – over the past six days the championships – featuring twenty-five countries from the European, African and South American theatres at four host clubs around the Welsh capital – Barry Athletic, Dinas Powys, Penarth Windsor and Penylan – has put the best-credentialled field ever through its paces, a veritable flat green gauntlet.
And following today’s set of no-nonsense elimination finals, eight teams will contest four finals tomorrow. Scotland and South Africa will have two shots at gold – the ‘Tartan Army’ in the men’s triples and men’s pairs, while South Africa’s Proteas are in the women’s fours and men’s triples. Guernsey and Israel will fight out the women’s singles, and Wales will take its shot in the women’s fours. England’s lone chance of gold tomorrow is in the men’s pairs where Steve Mitchinson and Jamie Walker take on the great Scots Paul Foster and Alex Marshall at 2pm. It’s a tough assignment for Walker and Mitchinson – difficult to think of a harder ask – but they will make the greatest pairs combination in history work for every shot. Should be a classic match.
Similarly, the South African men’s trio of Prince Neluonde, Jason Evans and Billy Radloff know they are in for a bruising encounter at 10am against the reigning Commonwealth Games triples gold medalists Ronnie Duncan, Derek Oliver and Darren Burnett from Scotland. Burnett’s ability to pull out miracle bowls when the big moments arrive is uncanny and will be put to the test against the razor sharp Proteas.
Also on the Penylan green at 10am is the women’s fours final, where the two best sides of the week will meet to decide the gold. The Welsh quartette of experienced skip Anwen Butten and her three fresh-faced teammates Melanie Thomas, Bethan Russ and Ysie White will no doubt enjoy strong crowd support – they have grafted their way through a variety of precarious situations throughout the qualifying stanza to reach the main event.
But the awesome Proteas foursome of Jacqui Van Rensburg, Nici Neal, Esmé Kruger and Anneke Snyman have met and overcome their own challenges to reach the big show as well. They will give a very good account of themselves in what should be a highly entertaining final.
The blue ribbon women’s singles final gets under way at 2pm and will feature Lucy Beere, a World Cup singles winner from Guernsey, and seasoned international campaigner Ruti Gilor from Israel.
Spectators will enjoy the contrasting styles of the protagonists – the bustling, pocket-sized Beere plays with instinct and imagination, while Gilor plays a more stoic brand of bowls, perhaps to wear her opposition down and is based on precision drawing. Today’s emphatic 21-7 semi final victory over hot favourite Caroline Brown from Scotland, a former world champion, testifies to her ability. Likewise, Lucy Beere’s fine win over England’s Natalie Chestney, a former Commonwealth Games singles gold medalist, in today’s semi final was full of character, especially after Chestney had made a fighting comeback from a 0-10 start to eventually hold a match lay and Beere drew the winner.
Full results of today’s elimination finals and semi finals below.
Photo: Women’s singles semi finalists today at Dinas Powys: Caroline Brown, Natalie Chestney, Ruti Gilor and Lucy Beere.
2019 Atlantic Bowls Championships, Cardiff, Wales, UK
Elimination finals: ENG (Natalie Chestney) bt RSA (Colleen Piketh) 21-19, ISR (Ruti Gilor) bt FRA (Cindy Royet) 21-15.
Semi finals: GUE (Lucy Beere) bt ENG (Natalie Chestney) 21-20, ISR (Ruti Gilor) bt SCO (Caroline Brown) 21-7.
Elimination finals: SCO (Hannah Smith, Stacey McDougall, Megan Grantham, Claire Johnston) bt ENG (Jamie-Lea Winch, Rebecca Wigfield, Lorraine Kuhler, Sian Honnor) 17-4, ZIM (Allyson Dale, Melanie James, Heather Singleton, Kerry Craven) bt KEN (Susan Wambugu, Grace Njuguna, Sophy Kihuyu, Esther Ndungu) 16-12.
Semi finals: RSA (Jacqui Van Rensburg, Nici Neal, Esmé Kruger, Anneke Snyman) bt SCO (Hannah Smith, Stacey McDougall, Megan Grantham, Claire Johnston) 17-10, WAL (Melanie Thomas, Bethan Russ, Ysie White, Anwen Butten) bt ZIM (Allyson Dale, Melanie James, Heather Singleton, Kerry Craven) 14-10.
Elimination finals: MLT (Mark Malogorski, Brendan Aquilina) bt IRE (Aaron Tennant, Mark Wilson) 14-13, JER (Derek Boswell, Ross Davis) bt GUE (Matt Solway, Matt Le Ber) 14-10.
Semi finals: ENG (Steve Mitchinson, Jamie Walker) bt MLT (Mark Malogorski, Brendan Aquilina) 21-18, SCO (Paul Foster, Alex Marshall) bt ER (Derek Boswell, Ross Davis) 15-14
Elimination finals: ENG (Ian Lesley, David Bolt, Sam Tolchard) bt MLT (Peter Tonna, Wes Hedges, Len Callus) 25-9, NAM (Piet Appolis, Johan Jacobs, Willy Esterhuizen) bt JER (Greg Davis, Scott Ruderham, Malcolm De Sousa) 14-12.
Semi finals: SCO (Ronnie Duncan, Derek Oliver, Darren Burnett) bt ENG (Ian Lesley, David Bolt, Sam Tolchard) 15-14, RSA (Prince Neluonde, Jason Evans, Billy Radloff) bt NAM (Piet Appolis, Johan Jacobs, Willy Esterhuizen) 20-13.