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Rolled gold for England

31 July 2002

England won the second gold medal of the bowls tournament when the men’s fours beat South Africa 22-8.

Simon Skelton

Simon Skelton on his way to gold

The England foursome of John Ottaway, Simon Skelton, Robert Newman and David Holt made the best of soggy conditions caused by incessant rain at Heaton Park, and were almost faultless in their shot-playing.

A four-shot fourth end gave the home side an 8-0 lead, and South Africa never got within three shots of England in the entire match.

In the ninth end a precision wood from Skip Holt gave England another three-shot win, and stretched their lead to 12-7.

But the shot of the match came from Holt in the 13th end when South Africa had two woods nestled eight inches behind the jack.

Holt, with the last shot of the end, curled his wood for it to land directly between South Africa’s woods and the jack, giving the team the end by one shot.

And in the next end England completed the route by winning the end by two shots, and the match by 22-8.

David Holt the England skipper said: “It was great at the end to have enough of a lead to know that we had no way off losing it. We were very close to going out in the quarter final against Fiji, and in the semis Northern Ireland just kept pegging us back. But in the final everyone played really well. It was a great performance.

“But it was the home crowd that made all the difference in the end. They have been a large part of our success. We wanted to play a good shot just to please them.”

Lewis Klopper the South African Team manager said of England’s win: “They were absolutely superb. Man for man the whole team played brilliantly. They deserve their gold medal.

“The conditions were not the best, but both teams had to deal with it. And England played the better bowls for the conditions.”

In the men’s pairs Malaysia narrowly avoided being disqualified when they turned up an hour late for their match with Wales.

The competition managers gave the game to Wales, but the Malaysians appealed the decision.

The appeal was upheld and the match will be played at a later time.

Info News Service/mb/jp

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