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Big win for Small

03 August 2002

England won their third bowls gold medal of the Games when Ruth Small beat Connie Sibanda of Zimbabwe in the women’s singles blind final.

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Small, who at 71 is the oldest member of Team England, wrapped up a 15-0 shutout of her opponent in just 10 ends.

Constance and her assistant Daniel Riengo Chida, playing in their third major tournament and first Commonwealth Games, could not match Small’s well-placed shots and the match was over before the two-hour mark.

An ecstatic Small said:: “It’s absolutely fantastic to win it for us both (husband Jack Small). We both worked extremely hard for this, and it’s a fulfilment of a dream. I’m a bit long in the tooth, so I thought if I don’t win it now, I never will.

“Since we’ve had the support from Sport England, with all the fitness coaches and sports psychologists, it has made a huge difference to the whole team.

“I’ve been bowling for 10 years, and competitively for five. I didn’t bowl before I lost my sight, and neither did Jack. I told Jack he should learn to bowl as well, not just for my sake, but for his own. Because it can be difficult if we are in each other’s pockets all the time.”

All four Women’s Singles quarter-finals were also decided in the afternoon session with England’s Jeannie Baker crashing out being the only major upset.

Baker lost to Malaysia’s Ahmad Siti Zalina 21-14 having led 10-6 after ten ends.

Siti Zalina levelled in the next end, pulling away with two consecutive two-shot ends in the 14th and 15th to make the score 19-13.

Baker got one shot back, before the Malaysian finished it off in the 21st end to move into the last four. Siti Zalina will play Marlene Castle of New Zealand, who beat Margaret Johnston of Northern Ireland 21-8.

In the other half of the draw, Lorna Trigwell of South Africa beat Jersey’s Karina Horman 21-8 and will face Australia’s Karen Murphy in the other semi-final. Murphy came from behind to beat Zimbabwe’s Jane Rigby 21-16.

Info News Service/mb/rb

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