“Two of the best bowls ever seen” was the consensus by those at Kelvingrove privileged enough to witness the Scotland v England men’s three bowl pairs semi-finals which went the way of legends Alex Marshall and Paul Foster after a thrilling head to head.
The Scots only scored on two of the first seven ends and trailed 8-2, briefly rallied with a double to 8-4, but England’s Andrew Knapper and Sam Tolchard countered with a double of their own. The Scots went ahead on the 16th end with a count of four to lead 14-13 but once again England hit back with their own count of two to take a 15-14 lead playing the last. Knapper left England in the driving seat and skip Marshall’s first bowl did nothing to appease that situation.
However, his next two bowls will be talked about for years. He changed to the tricky back hand and rolled in an inch-perfect bowl to hold a single which would give them an extra end decider, but with Tolchard failing to defuse the situation with his last bowl, Marshall opted to play the same stunning shot.
He rolled in another precise shot to count the double they needed to edge a 16-15 victory and stay in contention to regain the gold medal they won in Melbourne eight years ago.
Marshall, who bowls for Gifford, said: “These were the best bowls I have ever played in my life.”
Today they will meet Malaysia to decide the destiny of the gold medal after Malaysia beat Namibia 23-15.
However on the opposite green, Margaret Letham and her rink of Claire Johnston and Lothian players Lorraine Malloy and Lauren Baillie lost 21-15 on the last bowl to Mandy Boyd’s New Zealand rink in the women’s fours semi-finals. South Africa beat Malaysia 14-9 in the final.
The women’s singles title went to New Zealand’s Jo Edwards who beat defending champion Natalie Melmore from England 21-15.
South Africa’s Colleen Piketh took bronze against Northern Ireland’s Catherine McMillen 21-10.
The competitions are now reversed for the second phase of the event with the men now chasing singles and fours glory and the women pairs and triples.