Five Queenslanders medal, Glasgow 2014
Qld has five new Comm Games medallists – Lynsey Clarke (silver), Joy Forster and director Bruce Jones (bronze), Brett Wilkie (bronze), Nathan Rice (bronze). Australia’s lawn bowlers went to Glasgow full of hope as reigning world champions, but shadowed by trepidation over how they would fare on the comparatively slow and heavy Scottish greens.
Their worst fears were realised, as they found it more difficult than anticipated to adapt to the slower surfaces and the cool and windy conditions at Kelvingrove, compared to sunny Australia with its much faster greens.
Although they were odds-on to bring home some gold, the 17-strong team had to be content with one silver and three bronze, as the “locals” Scotland and England, well versed in such conditions, dominated the dais positions.
Australia finished sixth in the overall lawn bowls medal tally, behind South Africa, Scotland, England, New Zealand, and Malaysia.
Five Queenslanders will have Comm Games 2014 medals to show their grandchildren, Lynsey Clarke (silver), Joy Forster and director Bruce Jones (bronze), Brett Wilkie (bronze), and Nathan Rice (bronze).
WOMEN’S TRIPLES – SILVER
The women’s triples team were the best performed Australians, losing the gold to a superior English side in the final, 22-4. but bringing home silver.
Queensland’s Lynsey Clarke from Club Helensvale teamed up with NSW stars Karen Murphy from Cabramatta and Kelsey Cottrell from St John’s Park.
The women knew it was going to be a tough final, especially because of how they’d already struggled to find their usual killer form on the very different greens.
“Our greens are very much like playing on a carpet, we’re at a very big disadvantage coming over here, but to get a silver medal, I’m over the moon,” Murphy said.
Australia had to wait until the fourth end of the final to score its first shot, and then wait until the 11th end to secure a second, when the scoreline read a very unfavourable 20-2 to England.
The match ended emphatically in favour of England, an 18-shot victory after only 15 of the scheduled 18 ends played.
BLIND MIXED PAIRS – BRONZE
Queensland vision-impaired bowler Joy Forster, 64 and her director Bruce Jones, 75, won bronze in the para-sport mixed pairs, pushing New Zealand into fourth place and out of the medals, 14-11.
“It was magnificent, it was unreal, I’m still floating pretty high,” Forster said of her Games’ success.
MEN’S FOURS – BRONZE
The men’s fours team of Wayne Ruediger from South Australia and Matthew Flapper from Victoria and two Queenslanders, Brett Wilkie and Nathan Rice from Club Helensvale, gave everyone a thrill, winning bronze against India in a nail-biting finish, 15-14.
A relatively inexperienced team, India surprised the heavyweights of world bowls with their skill and determination and finished out of the medals by the smallest of margins, fortunately for Australia.
The Aussies were close to the play-off for gold-silver but were thwarted by the two strongest British teams, losing the semi 10-15 to Scotland, who went on to beat England for the gold.
Australian Jackaroos vice captain Aron Sherriff from NSW won Australia’s fourth and final Comm Games 2014 medal, becoming the 12th individual Aussie bowler to mount the dais in Glasgow and have a bronze medal looped around his neck.
Sherriff scored his maiden Comm Games medal in an all-Australasian final, defeating New Zealand’s Shannon McIlroy 21-8 in a one-sided but entertaining showdown.
Broadbeach bowls coordinator Ryan Bester, playing for his home country of Canada, one-upped Aussie rep Sherriff, taking the Men’s Singles silver medal, while the gold went to Scotland’s Darren Burnett, who beat Bester 21-9.
Bester was followed closely by his Gold Coast team mates, in the hope that if Sherriff didn’t do it for Australia, we could still bask in Canada’s reflected glory, since Bester hones his skills in what he calls the best bowls nation in the world, Australia.
In the end, it was South Africa which finished on top of the bowls medals table, winning five gold medals, and managing to adapt to the Glasgow greens the best of all the visiting countries, even beating the stylish Scots.