What a day the eighth day of competition turned out to be for Northern Ireland at the Lawn Bowls in the Commonwealth Games. Three Disciplines remained hopeful of medals going into the penultimate day of competition.
Firstly the Women’s Pair of Megan Devlin and Shauna O’Neill faced a very experienced pair from Malaysia. This was a very close game from the outset, with Malaysia just gaining the upper hand in the final few ends to secure an 18-16 win.
At the same time, Gary Kelly was facing Jason Evans of South Africa in the Quarter Final of the Men’s Singles. Gary took control of this game from the start and ran out a 21-12 winner. He will face Malaysia in the semi-final tomorrow, with the medal matches later in the afternoon.
The story of the day was left to the Men’s Four of Sam Barkley, Adam McKeown, Ian McClure and Marty McHugh who faced the might of Scotland in the Quarter Final. After a titanic struggle and a last bowl masterclass from McHugh, they secured a famous 18-16 win. They then moved on to a Semi-Final battle with Wales. This game was played on a very tricky rink, but the NI quartet completed a magnificent double on the day with an 18-9 win.
They now play India in the final having secured Ireland’s first Lawn Bowls medal since Glasgow.
The Northern Ireland team now have secured a medal, and the experience gained from 7 new representatives will prove invaluable in future events. The ladies in particular while they won no medals will develop from this experience having reached 3 Quarter finals. A lot of credit for this improvement must go to the High-Performance Coach Neil Booth.