Jarrad Breen had to remember not to break into a knee slide as he celebrated winning Commonwealth gold in the lawn bowls men’s pairs with Daniel Salmon.
Breen had been told off for his exuberant antics on the green after his 16-11 quarter-final victory against South Africa and the 29-year-old instead chose to stay on two feet as he raced down the green after sealing a 19-18 victory against England’s Sam Tolchard and Jamie Walker.
Breen and defending champion Salmon had established a 15-6 lead but were pegged back by the home duo, only to inch in front in the penultimate end and take gold.
It was drama oddly reminiscent of the thrilling men’s triples final on Monday, which saw England ward off an audacious Australian comeback, as the bowls continued to deliver sporting theatre by the bucketload in Leamington Spa.
But this time it was the principality who were jubilant, and Breen could not contain his joy on the green as the Tolchard’s final bowl went wide of the mark.
“I was just thinking I’m not allowed to slide anymore,” admitted Breen, who is making his Commonwealth debut at the 2022 Games.
“I got told off for that in the quarters, so I was just running thinking ‘don’t do it’.
“It was just meant to be for us, we’ve played some good stuff throughout.
“We don’t go into a Games thinking we’re going to win them; we just try to try our best – today was good enough.”
This summer, Team Wales, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players, comprises of over 200 athletes, all vying for medal success.
Breen and Salmon established an early lead and had a nine-shot cushion heading into the final eight ends.
But Tolchard and Walker fought back, roared on by the home crowd, who launched into regular cheers of ‘come on, Sammy’ each time Tolchard landed yet another bowl onto the jack with exquisite precision.
It seemed as if the momentum was all with the hosts as they levelled with four ends to play before Tolchard spurned the chance to draw level again on the 17th end, instead firing a bowl to quickly into the head to give Wales a two-shot lead.
It was an opportunity 2018 gold medallist Daniel Salmon was not going to pass up, as the pair held their nerve to win gold by one shot on the final end.
“I would never have thought that would ever happen to me,” beamed Salmon. “But it has happened and I’m just over the moon.
“We got away but they’re always going to come back at you, you know that.
“It’s just trying to stay mentally strong and lay the bowls.”
It’s just two hours from Cardiff to Leamington Spa, and the pair were supported by a strong Welsh contingent in the crowd.
Salmon won the same event four years ago with Marc Wyatt on the Gold Coast, but revealed it felt sweeter to be able to take gold with friends and family watching on.
“It feels better because you’ve got a lot more people here,” added Salmon.
“I’ve got all my family here, a lot of my friends, Jarrad’s family – so it just feels better.
“There’s a lot of English crowds but they did a brilliant job again our fans, they were amazing.”
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