Cardiff crowns new Atlantic heroes
The best of bowls was celebrated at Cardiff’s Penylan club today when Israel, England, South Africa and Wales struck gold in the Atlantic Championships.
Today was the climax of the event’s first week – the past six days of the championships featured twenty-five countries from the European, African and South American theatres at four host clubs around the Welsh capital. Competing nations arrived in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan with two aims, to seek medals in the event’s eight disciplines and/or qualification for next year’s world championships in Australia.
The reverse of this week’s program of men’s pairs and triples along with women’s singles and fours gets under way tomorrow and is sure to please.
In today’s blue ribbon singles gold medal match it was experienced Ruti Gilor from Israel who prevailed over pocket-sized Guernsey dynamo Lucy Beere, winning 21-15 after 24 ends.
The first half of the 21 shots-up final was a dour affair with scores peeled at 11-apiece after 14 ends. However, the excitement level lifted over the following 10 when the 64-year-old Israeli star moved up a gear to claim the points on eight ends adding 14 shots to four as she powered to victory.
England’s Jamie Walker and Steve Mitchinson achieved a great result at Penylan today when they clinched the men’s pairs gold medal, beating Scottish superstars Alex Marshall and Paul Foster in their 18-end final.
Any win against the Scots is a landmark result, but Mitchinson and Walker achieved some terrific results with bold shots under extreme pressure. Any single shot final score is open to conjecture, but the English duo deserved their gold medals on this occasion.
Earlier today the much-awaited men’s triples final saw a rejuvenated South African trio, under the astute guidance of hard man Billy Radloff, topple Scotland’s irrepressible Commonwealth Games champions Ronnie Duncan, Derek Oliver and Darren Burnett.
South Africa’s lead Prince Neluonde, the star of the show, never really allowed Duncan, his direct opponent, to settle while the Proteas middle pin Jason Evan overshadowed Derek Oliver.
Burnett and his men held a slender 7-5 lead at the halfway mark of the 18-end play-off, before the South Africans took control scoring 10 shots to two over the ensuing seven ends.
However, being six shots in arrears with two to play the proud Scots staged a rearguard action collecting a four on the penultimate end to be two down with one to play. But despite their best efforts, Burnett, Oliver and Duncan could only add one to concede their only defeat of the championships.
Further across Penylan’s green expanse hywls from the Welsh faithful could be heard in the next county as their red army marched home with the women’s fours crown.
Experienced skipper Anwen Butten and her rookie teammates Ysie White, Bethan Russ and Melanie Thomas took all before them in their weeklong quest for gold. Their 15-9 main event victory against the strong South African team of Jacqui Van Rensburg, Nici Neal, Esmé Kruger and Anneke Snyman was the stuff of adventure stories.
Down 6-9 with four ends to play, the Welsh ladies embarked on a last ditch effort collecting one, three, four and another single to claim gold and a place in Welsh bowls history.
Photo: Welsh pride: Gold medalists Melanie Thomas, Anwen Butten, Ysie White and Bethan Russ.
2019 Atlantic Bowls Championships, Cardiff, Wales, UK
Gold medal play-offs:
Women’s singles: Ruti Gilor (Israel) bt Lucy Beere (Guernsey) 21-15.
Men’s pairs: England (Steve Mitchinson, Jamie Walker) bt Scotland (Paul Foster, Alex Marshall) 14-13.
Men’s triples: South Africa (Prince Neluonde, Jason Evans, Billy Radloff) bt Scotland (Ronnie Duncan, Derek Oliver, Darren Burnett) 15-14.
Women’s fours: Wales (Melanie Thomas, Bethan Russ, Ysie White, Anwen Butten) bt South Africa (Jacqui Van Rensburg, Nici Neal, Esmé Kruger, Anneke Snyman) 15-9.