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From reigning champs to raining champs

02 August 2002

Scotland overcome the rain and Australia to make it through to the semi-finals.

heaton wet

Heavy rain in Manchester leaves Heaton Park's greens waterlogged

Scotland guaranteed themselves their second lawn bowls medal after they beat Australia 14-9 in their men’s pairs quarter-final.

The reigning world champions reserved their best bowls of the tournament so far to come from being 5-2 down after five ends to 11-6 ahead after 10.

The Australians fought back with some fine shots of their own to pull within two shots of the Scots. But Scotland added three shots to their score in the last two ends to take the match comfortably.

On beating Australia and making the semi finals, skipper Alex Marshall said: “It was a good win for us. They never gave us any breaks, even when we were ahead. We would have been gutted to lose, after being unbeaten our group games."

And on the ceaseless rain: “It was surprisingly good. It was heavy, but they have been like that a lot. They must have some great drainage. We were sitting in the Village at 11:30 thinking we weren’t going to play, then we got a telephone call."

Their semi-final opponents will be South Africa who were taken to an extra end by Northern Ireland after the score in their match was tied at 11-11 after 15 ends.

South Africa stormed to a 6-0 lead after only two ends and the Irish were forced to chase the game throughout the match. But after 14 ends, they had battled back to just 11-10 down.

The Northern Ireland pair then capped a marvellous fight-back by drawing level at the end of regulation play and forcing the extra end.

Midway through the end lead, Martin McHugh nudged the jack into the ditch, giving them what appeared to be a one-shot advantage.

But after McHugh and skip Gary McCloy thought they had clinched the win with the last shot, umpires were called in to measure the two closest bowls and South Africa prevailed, winning 12-11.

Disappointed skip, Gary McCloy said: “We were very unfortunate to lose. We went 6-0 down in the second end, and it’s very difficult to be chasing them the whole time. But we did chase them, and in the last five ends I thought we played the better bowls, and we deserved to win."

On playing an extra end he added: “It was very hard to pick ourselves up again after 15 ends. We had worked hard to get into the game, and we thought we had won it. But if your name’s not on it, then that’s that. But I am very disappointed - it was very unfortunate.”

Gerry Baker of South Africa said of their semi-final opponents, Scotland: “They won’t be easy. They beat us in the World Bowls final last year in Johannesburg."

“It could be one hell of a tough game, but we’re upbeat after winning the game today.”

“The weather doesn’t suit us, and these sort of greens don’t really suit us."

“It’s a big adaptation for us, but luckily it’s a clear prediction for tomorrow, so hopefully the green will be a bit quicker and that’ll be right up our street."

In the women’s singles group stage, Australia’s Karen Murphy came from behind to beat New Zealand’s Marlene Castle 21-11.

Castle was ahead by 10-6 after 10 ends, but Murphy took just seven more ends to put on 14 shots for the win.

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