Scottish bowlers ready to rebound after semi-final defeat

·4 min read
LEAMINGTON SPA, ENGLAND - JULY 30: Alex Marshall of Team Scotland celebrates with teammate Paul Foster during the Men's Lawn Bowls Pairs Round Four match between Team Scotland and Team Canada on day two of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games at Victoria Park on July 30, 2022 on the Leamington Spa, England. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images) (Matthew Lewis via Getty Images)

Bowlers Alex Marshall and Paul Brown vowed they would bounce back stronger after suffering semi-final defeat in the men’s pairs at the Commonwealth Games.

Marshall and Foster are two of the most decorated bowlers of all time but were beaten 19-13 by English duo Sam Tolchard and Jamie Walker.

It means the legendary pair, who boast 11 Commonwealth medals between them, will battle it out for bronze on Tuesday against Northern Ireland’s Sam Barkley and Martin McHugh.

The duo dropped five shots in the first end, and Marshall rued a slow start as key to their defeat.

“We got off to a bad start,” said Marshall, who will add a seventh Commonwealth medal to his collection if victorious on Tuesday.

“We lost a five [shot] first end which is not the ideal scenario to go to the gold medal play-off.

“We guided ourself back into the game, we were 9-9 and dominating the game but Sam played a heavy running shot and got maximum return to get three shots.

“That’s a six or seven shot turnaround, that was a massive turning point.

“To be fair to the two English guys, they played really well and deserved their win.”

This summer, Team Scotland, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players, compromises of over 250 athletes, all vying for medal success.

While most eyes may have been on the men’s triples gold medal match on the next green, the two sides offered a high-quality display of bowls.

And Marshall admitted that he felt he had not been up to his usual high standards.

“Paul was the best of the four of us by a country mile, he was outstanding, as was Jamie,” reflected Marshall.

“Sam got the better of me but that’s the way it goes.

“It’s a partnership, sometimes I pull Paul through, sometimes he pulls me through but today I feel I’ve let him down.

“We’ll be back.”

The duo now must pick themselves up to try and win bronze on Tuesday morning, and Foster knows the pair must draw on all their experience.

“You’ve got to look at the bigger picture, it’s not over now,” added Foster. “We’ve still got a medal to play for.

“We’ve got enough experience, although it’s disappointing, to put today behind us.

“We’ll go back, recharge, and be fighting fit to play for the bronze medal.”

The bronze medal match is part of a potential medal rush for Scotland across Tuesday and Wednesday, as both the men’s and women’s para pairs play their gold medal matches.

Men’s pair Zack Wallace and Garry Brown beat New Zealand’s Graham Skelleren and Mark Noble 18-10 to set up a battle with Australia for gold at 4.15pm on Tuesday.

The result guarantees a medal for the pair who only came together just weeks before the Games, and Wallace admitted this was the game with all the pressure.

“I’m on cloud nine right now, buzzing to come off of there,” said Wallace.

“It was a tight game, but Garry played some big bowls last couple of ends, and we got over the line.

“We knew this game was huge because it guaranteed us a medal and the final takes care of itself now.”

Women’s pair Rosemary Lenton and Pauline Wilson overcame England’s Michelle White and Gill Platt 16-10 to also book a final against Australia, at 3pm on Wednesday.

The duo had lost out to White and Platt 19-7 in the group stages but got their revenge in the semi-finals.

“We gave a performance that we knew we were capable of doing but that we hadn’t shown before,” reflected Lenton.

“We were so determined, especially against the Auld Enemy, that’s an even sweeter one.”

“This was the crucial match, the one that mattered, and we did it – we turned up,” added Wilson.

“I can’t stop smiling - I’m quite emotional actually.”

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