Five gold medals have seen Bowls South Africa’s Protea men and women lawn bowlers comfortably (and predictably) claim overall victory in the annual African States Tournament in Botswana.
Nations competing were Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Malawi and hosts Botswana; the format was singles, pairs, triples and fours. In the men’s fours, SA had to stave off Namibia and Kenya on shot difference, the trio two points behind Zimbabwe.
The gold medals won by South Africa came from the women’s fours, singles and pairs and in the men’s trip and singles while there were also silver medals in the women’s trips, men’s fours and pairs.
With Gauteng’s Prince Neluonde (JBA) and Pierre Breitenbach (NW) gold medallists at the Glasgow XX Commonwealth Games and non-travelling woman’s reserve for Scotland, Sylvia Burns (WP) playing the holders were always likely to be too consistent and skilful for the remainder of the field.
Said Bowls SA president, Allan Freeman, who attended the event: ‘SA’s side provided an unrelenting display of skill and concentration. I was also pleased to see much promise from our African neighbours; the continent has some fine emerging black African players.’
Nici Neale (Sables) the women’s SA Singles champion and Nic Rusling (WP) the men’s SA Masters champion, multiple national and international champions Herzog Meiring (S Free State), Port Natal’s Bronwyn Webber and Louise Larkin and dashing René Swanepoel (WP) provided great depth while the exciting Thinus Oelofse (Ekurhuleni) made a promising international debut.
Women: Fours: SA 12 points, +84 shots (Malawi did not field a women’s side), Zimbabwe 8, +48; Namibia 8, +16; Botswana 6; Zambia 4, -3; Swaziland 4. -54; Kenya 0. Singles: SA 10, +24; Kenya 8, +16; Swaziland 8, +10; Namibia 6; Zimbabwe 4, -8; Botswana 4, -19; Zambia 2. Trips: Zimbabwe 11, +38; SA 10, +27; Botswana 7, Namibia 6, Zambia 5, Kenya 3, Swaziland 0; Pairs: SA 12, +55; Botswana 10; Namibia 8; Zimbabwe 4, -10; Zambia 4, -12; Swaziland 2, -37; Kenya 2, -47
Men: Trips: SA 14, +99; Zimbabwe 11; Kenya 9; Botswana 8; Namibia 6, +12; Swaziland 6, -37; Malawi 2; Zambia 0. Pairs: Namibia12, +49; SA 9, +53; Zimbabwe 8, +21; Kenya 8, +7; Botswana 6, Malawi 4, Swaziland 2
Fours: Zimbabwe 12, +75; SA 10, +85, Namibia 10, + 61; Kenya 10, +16; Zambia 6, Malawi 2; Swaziland 0.
Women: Fours: Louise Larkin (Port Natal), René Swanepoel (WP), Bronwyn Webber (Port Natal), Sylvia Burns (WP); triples: Larkin, Webber, Burns; pairs: Swanepoel, Nici Neal (Sables); singles: Neal. Men: Fours: Pierre Breitenbach (NW), Herzog Meiring (S Free State), Thinus Oelofse (Ekurhuleni), Prince Neluonde (JBA); triples: Breitenbach, Meiring, Neluonde; pairs: Nic Rusling (WP),/Oelofse; singles: Rusling. Head coach: Theuns Fraser; manager/coach: Jessica Henderson.