Proteas bowls stars stake Commonwealth Games claim

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The singles event, the blue ribbon championship in bowls, was the perfect platform for the country’s stars to stake their claim in the national squad ahead of July’s Commonwealth Games.

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Both Evans and Piketh are stalwarts of the Proteas squad but with so much exciting talent coming through the ranks, it was always going to be an exciting, action-packed weekend with so many players looking to perform well in the hopes of securing a place in the initial squads from which one player – one man and one woman – will drop out ahead of the flight to Birmingham.

Piketh advanced to the finals after dropping just one match in the group phase as she was beaten by fellow Protea Nici Neal. Neal was forced to settle for second in the her group as she edged out Esme Kruger on shot aggregate.

Such was the class present in the field, Bridget Calitz dropped just one game from her seven in the opposing group but it was still not enough to deny the prolific singles player Esme Haley a place in the gold medal match. Once again, it was aggregate that decided who advanced with Haley now up against Piketh for gold.

Piketh claimed gold beating Haley 21-15 after 23 ends.

In the men’s final, it was superstar Evans up against one of the nation’s best ever, Gerry Baker. The latter has since retired from doing duty at international level after decades of bringing bowls medals back to the country. Evans has now taken up the mantle from Baker and was too good in the final winning 21-14.

Evans appears to be hitting top form as he didn’t lose a single match through the championship with the closest player in his group, Niksa Benguric, only getting to 10 in their first to 21 matchup in the pool stages.

Baker showed his class as he rebounded from a 21-20 loss to Pierre Breitenbach in the second game to go on an unbeaten run that led to his silver medal.

In the men’s junior section, there was a fantastic win for Wilson Malobolo over Paul White while Gillian Young edged Carmen Fourie.

Men’s national team squad:
Jason Evans, Pierre Breitenbach, Brendan Ferns, Morgan Muvhango, Bradley Robinson and Wayne Rittmuller.

Women’s national team squad:
Colleen Piketh, Anneke Snyman, Bridget Calitz, Nici Neal, Esme Kruger and Thabelo Muvhango

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