Australia’s Sharyn Renshaw, Claire Duke and Julie Keegan have claimed the nation’s first lawn bowls medal at the Delhi Commonwealth Games tonight (10/10).
During an epic final with South Africa’s Susanna Steyn, Tracy-Lee Botha and Susan Nel, the gold medal went down to the wire, with Australia falling perilously short of a famous victory.
Trailing 0-3 after the opening end of the tie-break, the Springboks were holding shot with one bowl remaining before Keegan played a brilliant conversion to level the scores from a seemingly dire situation.
With her first bowl, Renshaw drew a front toucher and the prospect of an Australian victory was almost a reality before Nel and the rub of the green conspired to work against them.
Playing her penultimate bowl, needing to change the head to win the match, Nel was narrow out of the hand, but when she arrived near the head, a wick allowed her to claim the shot.
While Keegan drove not once but twice, the South Africans were left clutching gold, consigning Australia to the same colour medal they won in Melbourne four years ago.
“At the beginning of the tournament if someone said that they would give you a silver medal you’d take it with both hands,” Keegan said.
“It’s disappointing to lose like that, we held a good shot, and unfortunately with the way it panned out, it wasn’t so good for us in the end.”
Having progressed through two elimination matches against Malaysia and India earlier in the day, while disheartened, Renshaw said she was proud to play alongside Duke and Keegan.
“It is disappointing when we were so close to get that gold medal, but to go home with any medal at all is wonderful,” the Australian lead commented.
“It certainly something I’ll cherish forever.”
For Duke, who partnered Keegan to gold at the 2008 World Championships in the women’s fours, and silver in the bronze, the latest addition to her trophy cabinet will be warmly received.
“I thought Julie had it with her last, she missed by millimeters, so you can’t do much about that one,” Duke said.
“I’m sure overtime silver will seem pretty good.”
Despite the loss, the medal count for the Australian lawn bowls team is poised to double by the end of the day with Brett Wilkie, Wayne Turley and Mark Casey meeting the Springboks’ Johann du Plessis, Wayne Perry and Gidion Vermeulen in the men’s triples final commencing at 1am AEDST.
Click here for more information on Australia’s lawn bowls campaign at the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games.
photos Janos Schmidt