Bowls:Silver solace for Jersey quartet
JERSEY'S unbeaten run in the women's world outdoor fours championship came to an end at Royal Leamington Spa yesterday, when Chris Grimes, Gean O'Neil, Karina Bisson and Suzie Dingle were defeated, 23-10, in the final by England.
While a defiant last-end count of seven salvaged some pride for the Channel Islanders, and made the score respectable, the difference between the sides was not as great as the score might suggest.
The Jersey quartet earned high praise for their qualifying campaign, and for the confident way they had forced their way past New Zealand and Scotland at the knockout stage.
It was actually the third time a Jersey team has reached a world outdoor final - Sheila Syvret did so in the pairs with Mavis Le Marquand in 1992, and with Jean Jones in 1996 - and they were delighted to take the silver medal 'We are thrilled at the way we played throughout the event,' said Karina Bisson.
'Even in the final, I didn't think we played that badly, but the English four never allowed us in the match.
'I felt we generally held our own, but Jean (Baker) and Amy (Monkhouse) turned so many heads to their advantage, and we were just left powerless,' she added.
A contingent of a dozen or so Jersey supporters, including Karina's husband Brian and father Colin Horman, flew over for the final day, and enjoyed a great day at the bowls - even though the result was not what they hoped for.
With shots hard to come by, the final started slowly, and the teams seemed well matched for the first five ends, when England led, 4-2.
A devastating England spell, which lasted from the sixth end to the 15th, and earned the host country 18 shots without reply, killed off any hopes that Jersey might have had of striking gold.
Even during that spell, however, the Jersey quartet played well enough to keep the scoring down, conceding singles and doubles all the way - except for a three on the 10th end, and a damaging five on the 13th.
Two of England's players - Ellen Falkner at second and skip Amy Monkhouse - are only 25 years old, but both have Commonwealth Games medals under their belts.
Jayne Christie at lead and Jean Baker at third also played well.
'They really did,' said Jersey team manager Liz Cole.
'It was a bit unfortunate that our girls did not quite get it together as they did on their way to the final, but England were superb.
'The weather was against us, because it rained pretty well throughout the game, but it was the same for both sides, and they found it better than we did - I was just proud of the way they stuck to their task.' Cole praised the whole team, who finished ninth overall.
'The five girls proved to be a compatible unit,' she said.
'Chris, at lead, made a successful debut at this level, and the British Isles pairs champions Gean and Karina slotted in beautifully mid-rink - then there was Sue, who is a great tactician, controlling things at skip,' said Cole.
Exactly how disappointed were the Jersey girls at their defeat in the final? 'A bit, yes,' admitted Cole.
'But there were 27 countries at Leamington who would have loved to have walked away with a silver medal.
It's something the whole of Jersey can be proud of.'
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