Commonwealth Games: Alex Marshall remains upbeat despite final defeat

Alex Marshall picked up the pairs silver medal alongside Paul Foster. Pic: PA
Alex Marshall picked up the pairs silver medal alongside Paul Foster. Pic: PA
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Tranent’s Alex Marshall and Paul Foster were pipped at the post as they attempted to win the Commonwealth pairs gold medal for a third time after wins in Melbourne and Glasgow, while a Commonwealth record-setting fifth title was on the cards for Marshall after his first win at the Manchester Games in 2002 with George Sneddon and a fours gold in Glasgow.

Hotly tipped to take the title against Welsh underdogs Dan Salmon and Marc Wyatt, Scotland couldn’t have scripted a better start, winning four of the first five ends to move 5-1 ahead.

Two ends later a single gave them a 6-3 advantage, but then fortune started to favour the Welsh duo as the Scots were anchored on that six-shot marker for a further six ends and trailed 6-10 in a low scoring, tentative exchange.

The Scots dug themselves out of impending trouble with a double followed by back-to-back singles to stand all square at 10-10 with the finishing line in sight, just two ends remaining and the title tantalisingly within touching distance.

However, it wasn’t to be, with both Welshmen turning on the style and thwarting every attempt that the Scots made when they looked like getting the upper hand.

A single on the penultimate end left the Scots requiring a double on the last to take the title, but skip Wyatt rose to the occasion once again and drew the shot, while Marshall’s last bowl just found a slightly high line to the jack and narrowly failed to make the count, giving Wales the golden thumbs up 12-10.

Cook Islands also celebrated their first event Commonwealth bowls medal, beating Malta to the bronze 17-11.

Although disappointed, they hid their feelings well.

Foster said: “We got off to a great start and dominated the first ten ends and deserved to be ten or 12 shots in front.

“They started getting the wee rubs but that’s the way bowls goes. It happens and you’ve got to live with the good and the bad.

“To be fair though, the Welsh lads came onto a really great game over the last five or six ends and played a lot better than what they did at the start and we maybe just went off a bit.

“Dan came onto a really consistent game and Sparky played really well throughout, particularly saving a game lie with his bowl. He couldn’t have placed it in a worse place for us”.

Marshall said: “Of course we’re disappointed, but first and foremost we came here to medal – irrespective of colour and that’s what we did. A two-shot defeat and a silver medal is not to be sneezed at.

“We won’t have time to dwell on this defeat as we’ll be back on green in a few hours with Ronnie (Duncan) and Delboy (Derek Oliver) to begin our campaign to retain the fours gold medal.

Smiling, he added: “We’ll rise to that challenge and I really want that fifth gold medal and I’m sure the other boys would be more than happy to take home two gold medals”.

As Marshall said, a few hours later it was back to business for the Scots, with defending singles champion Darren Burnett only dropping a total of five shots from his matches against Samoa and Niue, while Marshall guided his troops to an opening 25-9 win over Brunei.