'Jersey' triumph over 'Tonga' in the final of the Gildredge Commonwealth games tournament
Updated: May 5
In a close fought final at the end of a long day of bowls, Team Jersey had the edge over Team Tonga to win the club's Australian pairs tournament for the Jim Ashby plate and cash prize. Our club bowlers had adopted 20 commonwealth countries expected to play at the Games Birmingham 2022. They battled all day through group stages and a knock-out to find the tournament winners.
The group stages saw some top bowling from the Isle of Man (Howard Medway and Mal Rossell). The adopted Maltese Falcons (Richard Scullion and Eileen Harris) showed real skill. Our Kiwis Alison Williams and Andy Wratten racked up some good ends. A short break for lunch allowed organisers Brian Whittaker and Jo Doust to finalise the morning's league tables and make the draws for the afternoon's matches. Five group winners and three best runners-up would progress to the quarter-finals. Canada, Fiji, Isle of Man, Jersey, Malaysia, Scotland, Tonga, and Wales made it to this knock-out stage.
Each match was five ends of four wood pairs so there were just 40 bowls for a team to make their mark and move to the semis. Focus and determination came to the fore. At the end of four splendid matches the semi-finals shaped up as Tonga (Trefor Williams and Eve Goldsmith) versus Isle of Man (Howard Medway and Mal Rossell) and Scotland (Helen Cunningham and Keith Goodwin) versus Jersey (Andy Roberts and Marilyn Doust).
Tonga and Jersey triumphed in the semis and fought each other in a tense final before Jersey pulled ahead to become champions. Scotland and Isle of Man battled for 3rd place with Isle of Man winning.
Photo above: Mal Rossell and Howard Medway representing Isle of Man receiving their 3rd place prize from club Vice-President David Forge
Photo above: Eve Goldsmith and Trefor Williams representing Tonga receiving their 2nd place prize from club Vice-President David Forge
Photo above: Marilyn Doust and Andy Roberts representing Jersey receiving their winners trophy and prize from club Vice-President David Forge
The event was in celebration of the forthcoming Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Bowls is a major commonwealth sport and club members are looking forward to watching in person or via the major coverage expected on TV and streaming channels. Find out more about the games via this link Home of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games
Club members were delighted to receive good luck messages from national bowls organisations around the world. From the Isle of Man Win Kewley sent "...best wishes...come on Isle of Man". Joe Saragozza from the Malta Lawn Bowls Federation adopted Eileen and Richard as Maltese Falcons. "Faot allai Guernesiais ..Let's go Guernsey" wrote Peter Priaul, Guernsey's team manager. Malaysia's team manager Syed Zainal Abidin sent messages of success for Mike and Val. New Zealand's Head Coach Mike Kernaghan sent best wishes to Alison and Andy and hoped the event went well in creating a positive atmosphere in the lead up to the Games. England's team of Sue and David were supported by Mal Evans, England's national Director of Coaching who wished them success, and how he hoped the club had an exciting day. Well-known bowls commentator David Corkhill telephoned the club during the lunch break and wished everyone well.
Below left: Another strong win for Malaysia represented by Mike Hunnisett and Val Butler
Below right: England (Sue Boyland and David Forge) fought back from six down on the first end to achieve an honourable draw in a group match.
Bowlers ready for the first matches - pairs represented Australia, Botswana, Canada, England, Fiji, Guernsey, India, Isle of Man, Jersey, Malta, Malaysia, Namibia, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Samoa, Scotland, Singapore, Tonga, South Africa, and Wales.
The matches were played in a friendly spirit but with a definite desire to win! The Australian Pairs format keeps everyone focussed on the state of the head and spectators enjoyed some precision bowling. Umpire Dorothy Bromiley was available all day to settle questions and rule over close measurements.
Photo above: Umpire Dorothy checking a disputed jack distance.
The teams who finished lower down in the group stage all progressed to the "down-under play-offs" and a chance of winning a cash prize. Nine prizes of £10 meant these pairs won their entry fee back and enjoyed a whole day of competitive bowls for free! Here are some of their happy faces!
Photos above clockwise from top left: Northern Ireland (Doug Owen and Ellen Strevens); South Africa (Duncan Pickering and Marie Goodwin); Guernsey (Jet Tait and Arthur Strevens); India (Carol Forge and Brian Welfare); Malta (Richard Scullion and Eileen Harris); Singapore (Mary Bowley and Kevin McMichael)
Feedback was that it had been a great day. Our club bowlers were really appreciaitive of the support from commonwealth country bowls organisations across the world. They are looking forward to the Commonwealth Games and will be following their adopted countries. Gildredge Park Bowls sends best wishes and good luck to all the Commonwealth countries competing at Birmingham 2022.