Commonwealth Games:Jersey squeezed out of bowls bronze medal position

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A talented Jersey trio – Christine Grimes, Gean O’Neil and Gina Le Long made history by becoming the first Jersey players to reach the last four of a Commonwealth Games bowls event – yet failed to bring home a bronze medal.

England’s Sue Harriott, Jean Baker and Amy Monkhouse bagged bronze in today’s play-off, turning on a powerful display to lead 11-0 in the first set and 7-2 in the second on their way to a convincing 11-3, 9-4 victory.

Now the focus switches to Gaynor Thomas and Suzie Dingle, who made sure of a place in the quarter finals of the women’s pairs when they overwhelmed Niue last night, then finished on top of the table with further wins over Samoa and Northern Ireland.

Thomas and Dingle are looking forward to playing South Africa tomorrow and the fact that it was Jersey who beat them at the same stage of the triples will not be lost on them.

The Jersey triples achievement in reaching the semi-finals, medal or not, should not be underestimated.

‘We had a great day on Friday, when we beat Botswana in the morning to clinch our place in the knockout stage,’ said skip Gina.

‘We kept up our momentum at night to beat South Africa in the quarter finals.’ What Gina did not mention was that two of the South Africans – Trish Steyn and Loraine Victor, had won the world outdoor triples title at Royal Leamington Spa two years ago – with Jill Hackland.

This time they teamed up with Hendrika Lynn to form a tough-looking team, but it was the inspired Jersey trio who had the upper hand from the start.

Jersey opened with two singles and a double, and were 5-1 up after 5 ends, but they experienced a few anxious moments when the Proteas closed to 5-4 with one end left to play.

With their hearts in their mouths the Jersey triple managed to take a vital single to win the set, 6-4, then set off confidently, knowing they could tie the second set and still win the match.

And that’s exactly what they did – though it must be said they did it the hard way, after dropping a four on the fourth end and a single on the fifth to trail 8-2 with only four ends left to play.

Digging deep, they carded a double on the sixth end, then took a four on the seventh, and went ahead, 10-8, with another double on the eighth end, setting the South Africans the target of scoring three to force a tiebreak.

Grimes, O’Neil and Le Long were happy to drop a double to tie the set, and went through to the semi finals clutching a dramatic and historic 6-4, 10-10 card.

‘It was so different in the semi finals,’ said Le Long.

‘We just couldn’t find line or length against the Malaysians, who played very well and fully deserved to win.

We dropped a six in the first set, and that didn’t help, but we just didn’t come out of the changing room!’ Le Long said she was not disappointed at the 12-5, 16-3 defeat, ‘because we just didn’t play well enough,’ and her team-mates agreed, resolving to put things right with a spirited, if unrewarded, challenge for the bronze medal this morning.

The men’s triple – Alan Shaw, John Lowery and Lee Nixon – went into the consolation classification stage, where they promptly chalked up a couple of good wins against Niue and Fiji, and will finish their programme against Samoa tomorrow.

Karina Bisson, who was glad to get on the green at last, was delighted with her 12-6, 7-4 straight sets win over Canadian Lynn McElroy, but lost in straight sets to Welsh star Betty Morgan this morning.

Quémard, sadly, was pipped at the post by Malta’s Shaun Parnis, who edged home in straight sets, 7-6, 7-6.

Allthough there is a bowling green in Malta, Parnis, like his fellow Maltese players, is resident in Australia, and the side is coached by ex-Aussie star Rex Johnston.

Although a last-end Quémard treble made the score respectable in the first set, AQ looked poised to square the match when he led 6-3 after seven ends in the second set, when Parnis got home with two successive doubles.

Last night he hit a rich vein of form to force Scotland’s Darren Burnett, one of the favourites for the title, into a tiebreak, but the Scot escaped to win, 8-4, 8-11, 2-0.

Men’s singles: Allan Quémard lost to Shaun Parnis (Malta) 6-7, 6-7; lost to Darren Burnett (Scotland) 4-8, 11-8, 2-0.

Men’s pairs: Derek Boswell & Gus McKinnon bt Niue 6-5, 10-2; bt PNG 9-7, 8-6; lost to Scotland 4-14, 5-11.

Men’s triples – (round-robin play-offs for places 17-20): Alan Shaw, John Lowery, Lee Nixon bt Niue 4-7, 15-6, 2-1; Jersey bt Fiji 12-7, 9-11, 2-1; Jersey will play Samoa tomorrow.

Ladies singles: Karina Bisson bt Lynn McElroy (Canada) 12-6, 7-4; lost to Betty Morgan (Wales) 5-9, 4-11.

Ladies pairs: Gaynor Thomas & Suzie Dingle lost to Wales 9-11, 5-8; bt Samoa 12-4, 6-8, 2-0; bt Northern Ireland 12-8, 7-6.

Ladies triples: Christine Grimes, Gean O’Neil, Gina Le Long bt Botswana 18-2, 8-6 to qualify for the quarter finals.

Quarter final: Jersey bt South Africa 6-4, 10-10.

Semi final: Jersey lost to Malaysia 5-12, 3-16.

Bronze medal play-off: Jersey lost to England 3-11, 4-9.

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