Brittania rules Atlantic classics in Cardiff
England had a great time at the Atlantic Championship finals in Cardiff today.
Their action man Jamie Walker won his second gold medal of the championships – added to last week’s pairs with Steve Mitchinson – when he outgunned Scotland’s Darren Burnett to win the blue ribbon singles in a repeat of his 2015 success in Cyprus.
The English women started the rush when their triples team coasted to victory in the morning, beating a gallant Scotland trio by ten shots.
South Africa made it back-to-back gold in the women’s pairs when the seasoned combination Nici Neal and Colleen Piketh outclassed the plucky Guernsey duo of Rose Ogier and Lucy Beere. The scoreline of 17-4 from 16 ends is evidence of a tight match – in fact, it wasn’t until the 12th end that a multiple score – a two to Guernsey – appeared on the card.
England was imperious when they powered to victory in the women’s triples final, winning 23-13. Although the brave Scots Hannah Smith, Claire Johnston and Caroline Brown gave their utmost, England’s Jamie-Lea Winch, Lorraine Kuhler and Sian Honnor were simply too consistent.
Orchids to England’s Jamie-Lea Winch, who gave a flawless display in the lead position, while Kuhler and Honnor flew the St George’s Cross with pride.
England trailed 4-6 after six before moving up a gear and embarking on a scoring spree that saw them count on eight of the next 10 ends to lead 23-12. The battling Scots added a single on the next before hands were shaken as the medal chase was settled.
But it was the finish of the men’s fours further up the green that will linger longest in memory. Scotland’s mighty quartet of Ronnie Duncan, Derek Oliver, Paul Foster and Alex Marshall were wallowing in the mire at 13-7 down – with two to play – against Jersey’s Derek Boswell, Scott Ruderham, Greg Davis and Malcolm De Sousa, the defending champions.
Scotland counted four and two on ends one and two, then added a single on the seventh – Jersey, with skipper Malcolm De Sousa in scintillating touch, claimed the other 10 ends.
With no disrespect intended, De Sousa’s direct opponent Alex Marshall, the game’s best player, was not at his best.
However, on the 14th De Sousa made what appeared to be a strategic blunder and Marshall pounced – driving the jack into the ditch to claim a six. Scores were level at 13-13, and when Paul Foster nestled one up against the jack on the final end, and the Jersey boys were unable to dislodge it, the Scots had pulled off the greatest escape since Harry Houdini’s ‘Buried Alive’ stunt.
The Jersey boys would be crestfallen, having limited the Commonwealth Games champions to five winning ends out of fifteen and playing their hearts out, their dream of a fairytale repeat gold finish ended in the dust.
In the overall competition, South Africa claimed the women’s crown, while Scotland won the men’s title.
Photo: Today’s gold medalists at the Atlantic Championships in Cardiff.
2019 Atlantic Bowls Championships, Cardiff, Wales, UK
Gold medal play-offs:
Men’s singles: Jamie Walker (England) bt Darren Burnett (Scotland) 21-19.
Men’s fours: Ronnie Duncan, Derek Oliver, Paul Foster, Alex Marshall (Scotland) bt Derek Boswell, Scott Ruderham, Greg Davis, Malcolm De Sousa (Jersey) 14-13.
Women’s pairs: Nici Neal, Colleen Piketh (South Africa) bt Rose Ogier, Lucy Beere (Guernsey) 17-4.
Women’s triples: Jamie-Lea Winch, Lorraine Kuhler, Sian Honnor (England) bt Hannah Smith, Claire Johnston, Caroline Brown (Scotland) 23-13.