Cream rising to the top in Cardiff

At close of hostilities this afternoon, the state of play stands at flashpoint for competitors striving to qualify for honours during week two of the Atlantic Championships in beautiful South Wales.

With either three or four rounds to accrue valuable points in their respective disciplines the top fancies, like champion jockeys steering their thoroughbred mounts into the home straight at Royal Ascot or Paris Longchamp, must position themselves for the sprint to the finish line. The stakes are high here too, with medals for individual and team achievement in Cardiff, while the glory of qualifying your country for next year’s world championships must surely be the ultimate.

With two qualifying days remaining, the blue ribbon men’s singles competition sees two African stars heading the section tables, with Pierre Breitenbach from South Africa unbeaten in Section 1, as is Namibia youngster Cabous Olivier in Section 2.

Defending champion Jamie Walker from England relinquished his lead when he lost to Welsh whiz Dan Salmon this morning, while Scottish world and Commonwealth champion Darren Burnett drew with Malta’s Brendan Aquilina after lunch to move down the table. However neither of the 2015 finalists should be discounted.

In the men’s fours Ben Thomas, Ross Owen, Stephen Harris and Jon Tomlinson from Wales are still Section 1 leaders, albeit they lowered their colours to Guernsey’s Terry Brokenshire, Matt Solway, Mick Ogier and Chris Dyer this afternoon; while South Africa’s Prince Neluonde, Wayne Rittmuller, Jason Evans and Billy Radloff lead Section 2 by two shots from the only other unbeaten contender, Scotland’s Ronnie Duncan, Derek Oliver, Paul Foster and Alex Marshall.

Despite a loss to Israel’s Ruti Gilor and Tami Kamzel this afternoon, Welsh starlets Sarah-Marie Nicholls and Ysie White still top women’s pairs Section 1; as do England’s undefeated Rebecca Wigfield and Natalie Chestney in Section 2.

Likewise, in women’s triples, overnight leaders Jacqui Van Rensburg, Esmé Kruger and Anneke Snyman from South Africa collected two wins today to retain the lead in Section 1, while England’s Jamie-Lea Winch, Lorraine Kuhler and Sian Honnor also remain undefeated at the top of Section 2 after lodging two strong wins at Penylan today.

Over the past ten days the 2019 Atlantic Championships – featuring twenty-five bowling nations from the European, African and South American regions at four host clubs around the Welsh capital – Barry Athletic, Dinas Powys, Penarth Windsor and Penylan – has thrilled visitors from far and wide.

One team that has swept through like a breath of fresh air and genuinely impressed spectators at Penylan today is the French team in the women’s triples competition.

These Atlantic Championships are their first foray onto the international scene where they are winning the charm offensive with a style that is unorthodox; techniques you wouldn’t find in any training manual; and strategy that at times could best be described as impetuous; but they are great theatre! Likewise, their calisthenics and bounding from one end to another – even between deliveries, would send most athletes into a tailspin.

Bienvenue to the three female musketeers; 29-year-old skipper Cindy Royet – who qualified France for the world singles in Australia last week – Amandine France, also 29, and 24-year-old Jennifer Gomez, who play a brand of bowls that is exciting to watch and devilishly dangerous to oppose.

All three are former top boules players – a similar game to ours played throughout Europe – where the objective is to throw or roll heavy spherical orbs as close as possible to a small target ball or jack on purpose-built sandlots.

These delightful French maiden voyagers look terrific out there on their newly adopted playing field, where they compete with enthusiasm, aggression and unabated joy. Impressionnant!

Photo: French women’s triples team: Amandine France, Jennifer Gomez and Cindy Royet at Penylan today.

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2019 Atlantic Bowls Championships, Cardiff, Wales, UK

Day 8:

Men’s singles:

Sec.1: Rd.7: ENG (Jamie Walker) bt GUE (Matt Le Ber) 21-17, RSA (Pierre Breitenbach) bt JER (Ross Davis) 21-4, KEN (Joseph Kitosi) bt NED (Frank De Vries) 21-15, ARG (Jose Riveros) bt JAM (Mervyn Edwards) 21-9, FRA (Amaury Dumont) bt IOM (Mark McGreal) 21-15. Rd.8: WAL (Dan Salmon) bt ENG 21-13, BOT (Remmy Kebapetse) bt KEN 21-13, FRA bt JAM 21-20, JER bt GUE 21-20, IOM bt NED 21-16, RSA bt ARG 21-18. Rd.9: RSA bt FRA 21-10, WAL bt JER 21-14, ENG bt ARG 21-11, BOT bt IOM 21-17, KEN bt JAM 21-8.

Current standings: SOUTH AFRICA 24 points +79 shots, ENG 21 +56, WAL 15 +40, JER 15 -4, BOT 12 -12, KEN 10 -6, ARG 9 -10, IOM 9 -15, FRA 9 -48, GUE 7 +19, NED 6 -15, JAM 0 -84.

Sec.2: Rd.5: SCO (Darren Burnett) bt HUN (Zoltan Pavelka) 21-3, ZIM (Myles Hopper) bt SUI (Thomas Walti) 21-17, ISR (Zvika Hadar) bt ESP (Tom Rogers) 21-10, MLT (Brendan Aquilina) bt TUR (Ozkan Akar) 21-15, NAM (Cabous Olivier) bt CYP (Bob Manson) 21-10, IRE (Adam McKeown) bt BRA (Joao Correa) 21-11. Rd.6: SCO drew MLT 20-20, ZIM bt CYP 21-19, IRE bt SUI 21-9, ESP bt TUR 21-18, NAM bt BRA 21-16, ISR bt HUN 21-9. Rd.7: SCO bt TUR 21-11, ESP bt HUN 21-10, NAM bt SUI 21-10, MLT bt ISR 21-10, BRA bt CYP 21-16, IRE bt ZIM 21-10.

Current standings: NAMIBIA 21 points +51 shots, SCO 19 +77, IRE 18 +38, MLT 16 +47, ISR 15 +28, ZIM 12 -14, ESP 9 -6, BRA 6 -14, SUI 6 -37, TUR 3 -15, CYP 0 -68, HUN 0-87.

Men’s fours:

Sec.1: Rd.5: WAL (Ben Thomas, Ross Owen, Stephen Harris, Jon Tomlinson) bt ISR (Daniel Alonim, Selwyn Hare, Danny Slodovnik, Allan Saitowitz) 24-6, MLT (Peter Tonna, Wes Hedges, Mark Malogorski, Len Callus) bt NAM (John Fouche, Piet Appolis, Johan Jacobs, Will Esterhuizen) 21-16, JER (Derek Boswell, Greg Davis, Scott Ruderham, Malcolm De Sousa) bt GUE (Terry Brokenshire, Matt Solway, Mick Ogier, Chris Dyer) 16-14, ARG (Ricardo Rubinat, Rodolfo Muller, Jorge Barreto, Raul Pollet) bt ZIM (Mike Eaton, Clive Robertson, Tom Craven, Denis Streak) 16-5. Rd.6: JER bt TUR (Ahmet Gargabijk, Vuslat Arac, Huseyin Tukenmez, Serkan Akar) 21-7, ARG bt MLT 16-15, GUE bt WAL 16-10, ZIM bt ISR 18-13,

Current standings: WALES 12 points +45 shots, JER 12 +28, ZIM 12 Sq, ARG 9 +16, NAM 9 +2, ISR 9 -7, GUE 3 -18, MLT 3 -21, TUR 3 -45.

Sec.2: Rd.5: ENG (Steve Mitchinson, David Bolt, Ian Lesley, Sam Tolchard) bt IRE (Aaron Tennant, Neil Mulholland, Andrew Kyle, Mark Wilson) 14-9, RSA (Prince Neluonde, Wayne Rittmuller, Jason Evans, Billy Radloff) bt SUI (Sven Rubin, Ulrich Hausler, Beat Matti, Thomas Schneiter) 30-4, SCO (Ronnie Duncan, Derek Oliver, Paul Foster, Alex Marshall) bt ESP (John Pooley, Brian Manser, Derek Eldon, Graham Cathcart) 26-12, KEN (David Salmon, Benson Wambugu, Charles Wambugu, Andrew Jones) bt BRA (Francis Vila, Heitor Correa, Keith Rowland, Peter Gordon) 14-7. Rd.6: BRA bt BOT (Ajitkumar Naik, Baven Balendra, John Gaborutwe, Binesh Desai) 15-14, RSA bt ENG 17-15, SCO bt KEN 21-8, IRE bt ESP 17-13.

Current standings: SOUTH AFRICA 15 points +56 shots, SCO 15 +52, IRE 12 +45, ENG 12 +39, KEN 6 -40, ESP 3 -14, BOT 3 -25, BRA 3 -34, SUI 3 -79.

Women’s pairs:

Sec.1: Rd.5: WAL (Sara Marie Nicholls, Ysie White) bt ESP (Debbie Colquhoun, Maggie Holmes) 17-12, MLT (Rebecca Rixon, Connie Rixon) bt JER (Chloe Greechan, Fiona Archibald) 24-9, ISR (Ruti Gilor, Tami Kamzel) bt RSA (Nici Neal, Colleen Piketh) 22-8, ARG (Marta Gesualto, Ana Ramos) bt SUI (Noelle Iseli, Simone Iseli) 21-14. Rd.6: RSA bt GUE (Rose Ogier, Lucy Beere) 25-5, MLT bt SUI 32-9, ISR bt WAL 18-14, JER bt ESP 26-10.

Current standings: WALES 12 points +63 shots, RSA 12 +42, JER 12 +7, MLT 9 +50, GUE 9 +19, ISR 9 -7, ARG 6 -42, ESP 3 -44, SUI 0 -88.

Sec.2: Rd.5: ENG (Rebecca Wigfield, Natalie Chestney) bt NED (Ineke Nagtegaal, Norma Duin) 28-3, ZIM (Caryn Sinclair, Melanie James) bt IOM (Karen Slack, Pam Makin) 22-10, SCO (Megan Grantham, Stacey McDougall) bt NAM (Anjuleen Viljoen, Amanda Steenkamp) 17-5, FRA (Audrey Vyt, Emma Baggio) bt TUR (Eylem Carcabuk, Ceyda Arac) 36-7. Rd.6: IRE (Gemma McClean, Sarah-Jane Curran) bt NED 17-14, ENG bt NAM 22-12, SCO bt TUR 33-8, IOM bt FRA 20-13.

Current standings: ENGLAND 18 points +89 shots, IRE 13 +60, SCO 12 +57, ZIM 7 -3, NED 7 -11, IOM 6 -31, NAM 4 +14, FRA 3 -2, TUR 0 -173.

Women’s triples:

Sec.1: Rd.5: RSA (Jacqui Van Rensburg, Esmé Kruger, Anneke Snyman) bt MLT (Rita Hedges, Rose Rixon, Sharon Callus) 19-11, GUE (Jackie Nicolle, Lyn Small, Gwen De La Mare) bt ARG (Sara Jaimez, Celia Jaimez, Gabriela Vallamarin) 18-12, CYP (Maria Staniland, Yvonne Veitch, Hazel Bagshaw) bt WAL (Melanie Thomas, Bethan Russ, Anwen Butten) 16-14, ZAM (Gertrude Siama, Sophie Matipa, Eddah Mpezeni) bt TUR (Havva Konanc, Filiz Adiguzel, Rahsan Akar) 15-11, IRE (Ashleigh Rainey, Courtney Wright Shauna O’Neill) bt BOT (Marea Modutlwa, Chikale Robert, Tibone Fox) 17-15. Rd.6: BOT bt ESP (Lynne Eldon, Gillian Atkinson, Jenny Thompson) 18-13, IRE bt ARG 16-14, RSA bt ZAM 24-10, WAL bt TUR 24-12, MLT bt CYP 20-10.

Current standings: SOUTH AFRICA 15 points +67 shots, IRE 15 +35, WAL 12 +28, GUE 9 +18, ZAM 9 -5, CYP 9 -18, BOT 6 -11, MLT 6 -30, ESP 3 -17, TUR 3 -24, ARG 3 -43.

Sec.2: Rd.5: ENG (Jamie-Lea Winch, Lorraine Kuhler, Sian Honnor) bt JER (Freda Videgrain, Lorraine Bowman, Ethel Southern) 16-8, NED (Elly Dolieslager, B