The Bowls SA sides for next month’s 2014 Commonwealth Games in Scotland ended their three-match practice ‘tour’ with a hard-fought victory over a spirited Western Province side (all five women were internationals) at Constantia, on Sunday and prospects appear promising.
After barely more than a ‘run in the park’ against Johannesburg and Durban sides in April and May respectively, the five men and women in green and gold were called on to provide some thrilling shots and snatch several last-end results in the 12 games played.
Watched by the president of Bowls SA, Allan Freeman and a bevy of selectors, plus manager/coach for Glasgow, Jessica Henderson, the tourists were provided with greens similar to those expected ÔÇô slower than usual; also left uncut to simulate possible conditions.
The Proteas won overall 8.5-3.5, narrowly losing two women’s trips, one men’s singles and peeling a men’s trips.┬áHeartening for SA’s prospects against the world’s best (SA’s men are ranked third, the women fifth) was that the hosts sides often led early on, only for the Proteas to fight back.
Pick of the visitors were undoubtedly SA No1 Gerry Baker, who produced scintillating shots on the drive and draw ÔÇô his effort over the last seven ends in a men’s fours on Saturday afternoon was breathtaking and Colleen Piketh who proved consistent and committed; best home players were Neels Kotze and Cheryl Cox.
The Proteas leave mid-July for Britain to prepare for the Games.
Proteas for Glasgow
Men: Singles: Bobby Donnelly; pairs: Gerry Baker/Jason Evans; trips: Donnelly/Rudi Jacobs, Prince Neluonde; fours: Baker/Jacobs/Evans/Neluonde. Women: Singles: Colleen Piketh; pairs: Piketh/Tracy-Lee Botha; trips: Susan Nel/ Santjie Steyn/Esm├® Steyn; fours: Nel/Botha/Steyn S/Steyn E.;┬á manager: Jessica Henderson
WP – Men:┬á Singles: Nic Rusling (Edgemead),┬á Fours: Neels Kotze (Constantia)/Theo van der Walt (Edgemead)/Eugene Ferreira (WPCC)/Schalk Kotze (Old Oak); trips Kotze N, Van der Walt/Ferreira; pairs: Rusling/Ferreira. Women: Singles: Trish Young (WPCC), Fours: Cheryl Cox (Edgemead)/ Marina Brink (Gordons Bay)/Ren├® Swanepoel (Durbanville)/Sylvia Burns (Pinelands; trips: Cox/Brink/Young; pairs: Swanepoel/Burns.