Team NI bowlers have just produced one of our province’s most successful Commonwealth Games performances in 24 years. That was the last time we won a Gold medal in Kuala Lumpur when the four of M. McHugh, Ian McClure, N. Booth and G. McCloy brought home the shiniest medal. On that occasion, Marty McHugh and Ian McClure formed the front end of the gold medal-winning rink. This time they were the Skip and Third, respectively, with the youthful front end of Sam Barkley and Adam McKeown.
What a run of games. Narrowly losing to Canada by one shot in their first group game was a disappointing start. However, that was their only defeat on their way to the final, which included wins against pre-tournament favourites Australia and Scotland, which put them into a semi-final against Wales, which they won 18-9.
The final was against India, who were going for a country double as their ladies had previously won Gold in the Ladies Fours. Our Four had a strong start winning the first four ends to go into a 7-0 lead. They were excellent throughout the subsequent ends before finishing 18-5, winners and not needing to play the last end.
The success didn’t finish with the Fours Gold with Gary Kelly playing in the Singles final. Gary played against the current champion Aaron Wilson from Australia. Both had been unbeaten in all games through to the final. Wilson caught the rink right at the start and successfully defended his title. So Gary won a super Silver medal meaning all five members of the Men’s team came home with a medal.
Congratulations, guys, on a super Commonwealth Games.
A mention must be made to Neil Booth, who, as High-performance Coach, must be delighted with his team’s performance after a busy preparation over the last couple of COVID-affected years.