Commonwealth hopefuls in the bowls medals at Masters | SASCOC - SASCOC

Commonwealth hopefuls in the bowls medals at Masters

Four of the bowlers named in the provisional South African squad for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, won medals at the Warwick/Bowls South Africa Masters Singles Championships at the Wanderers Club at the weekend.

The national squad of six men and six women are hopefuls for the 10 available spots, following final trials, for the Games trip from 23 July to 3 August.

The superbly organised annual Masters, containing 80 of the country’s top players in Open, Seniors and Junior divisions was played in brutal heat before ever-increasing banks of spectators.

Tracy-Lee Botha (Bedfordview CC, Johannesburg Bowling Association), a 24-year-old bowls prodigy, pictured right, won gold in a tough encounter and secured a unique third victory in five years, beating 2009 champion Susan Nel (Plats Impala, Sables) 21-15. Both players are in the women’s squad for Glasgow. Esme Steyn (Linden BC), another member of the provisional Games squad, took bronze along with academic Glenda Matthews (Durban BC, Port Natal), who narrowly missed a tilt for gold on shot difference after six qualifying victories in seven matches.

And in the men’s event, classy Nic Rusling (Edgmead, WP), the runner-up last year, and pictured right, went one better in a fascinating, hard-fought clash with Clinton Roets (Hilton, S Free State) triumphing 21-14, after holding a 20-8 lead at one point.

Bronze went to former Commonwealth Games singles champion Bobby Donnelly, also named in the squad for Glasgow, on home greens, and Shawn Janse van Vuuren (Barberton, Mpumalanga).

Bowls SA president Allan Freeman said he was pleased with the form shown by the national squad. ÔÇ£South Africa’s lawn bowls Proteas topped their medals table at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India, and one confidently expects more of the same in this year’s event,” Freeman said. “Our bowlers acquired three gold medals, of 12 total earned by the SA team of 125 athletes in Delhi.

ÔÇ£Our 2014 bowls team will be world class. Especially heartening is the inclusion of Prince Neluonde (Johannesburg), who on sheer merit has ploughed his way through to the final selection. The high standard of international bowls means most encounters will be hard-fought, but I confidently predict Glasgow gold.ÔÇØ

The 11-day Games’ bowls programme includes fully integrated competing para-sport athletes, and South Africa’s world champion disabled players will also be in the hunt for more gold medals.

Pictured right are Botha and Rusling with their trophies. Pictures: Wessel Oosthuizen.

Provisional Commonwealth Games squad:

Women: Tracy-Lee Botha (Johannesburg), Susan Nel (Rustenburg), Colleen Piketh (Johannesburg), Esm├® Steyn (Johannesburg), Santjie Steyn (Boland), Sylvia Burns (WP)

Men: Gerry Baker (Johannesburg), Bobby Donnelly (Johannesburg), Jason Evans (Johannesburg) Rudi Jacobs (Heilbron), Prince Neluonde (Johannesburg), Pierre Breitenbach (Potchefstroom)

Coaches: Theuns Fraser (Sables), Jessica Henderson (Margate). Manager: Allan Freeman (East London)

Disability Bowls squad

Blind: B2/B3 Pairs: Gywndolene Nel (B2)/Hermanus Scholtz (B3); Directors: Geoffrey Newcombe/Johanna van Rooyen. Non-travelling reserves: Diana du Plessis (B2)/Phillipus Walker (B3); Directors: Desmond du Plessis/Luke Janse van Vuuren.

Disabled: B6/7/8 Trips: Derrick Lobban (B7)/Roger Hagerty (B6)/ Deon van der Vyver (B6). Non-travelling reserve: Willem Viljoen (B8). Manager: Brian Sneag.