West Vancouver, British Columbia August 25, 2013
To say that the sport of lawn bowls doesn’t have its dramatic moments would mean you were not attending the Gold Medal games at the recently completed 2013 Canadian Championship on Vancouver British Columbia’s beautiful North Shore. The crowd that was in attendance was treated to some fantastic lawn bowling by the best in the country.
The morning session featured the Women’s Gold Medal games. This was a change in format from recent years, and one that proved to go over well with those in attendance. With only three games to focus on, the bleachers were packed with excited fans who were able to catch every moment of the excitement on the green.
The game that had everyone buzzing was the Women’s pairs match between Chrystal Shephard and her partner Laila Hassan of Ontario against Gayell Slater and Cecilia Gillespie of Alberta. This match went back and forth with neither team wanting to give the other an inch. Going into the last end and Alberta down one, Gillespie made a clutch draw for one to send this game to an extra end. In the extra end it was just as close. The match came down to the last bowl again, although this time it resulted in a measure to determine the winner. In the end it was Alberta that pulled it off winning the match 16-15.
The other marquee match was the Women’s fours which saw Saskatchewan and Ontario B play each other for the second time in as many days. Their round robin game ended in a 17-17 draw. The Gold medal match was just as close. This time Saskatchewan, led by skip Harriette Pituley, found that little bit extra and pulled out an 18-13 win. This was Saskatchewan lead Fran Scott’s second national title of the summer as she won the inaugural Canadian Women’s Singles event in Regina at the beginning of August.
The other women’s match featured an all BC final where the teams of British Columbia A, led by skip Diane Fulton took on Marlene Cleutinx and her British Columbia B team. This was the fifth time this summer that these two teams have squared off on the green. In the end it was British Columbia B that gained the edge and won the Women’s Triples Gold with a 17-7 win in a game that only went 14 ends.
The afternoon proved to be just as entertaining.
On the Men’s Side, the story was the emergence of Cameron LeFresne. LeFresne, 19, is a veteran of the Canadian Championships having appeared here on three previous occasions. Making shot after shot, this bright future star showed that he can bowl with the best when the pressure is on. He and the rest of his Nova Scotia Men’s Fours team were taking on British Columbia B led by BC legend Christie Grahame. This game featured big swings in score, which at one point saw Nova Scotia up big. Ultimately BC-B dug down and found another gear which included a 7 point end enroute to a 24-14 win and the Gold Medal. British Columbia B had the best record during the round robin portion with a record of 8-0-1, and was the only team not to lose a game.
In sports, persistence is everything. This turned out to be the case for Ontario B lead James Covell, who after several appearances at the Canadian Championships, finally reached the top of the podium as he and skip Kevin Jones defeated British Columbia B 18-14 to win the Men’s Pairs gold medal.
In the final game of the Championship, the Men’s Triples match was one that featured two of the best skips in the country in Pat Beggs of New Brunswick and German Santana of British Columbia. This game featured some tremendous shot calling. New Brunswick proved to be too much as they led from start to finish en route to the Men’s Triples Gold with a 16-12 victory. During the medal presentation, the team from New Brunswick brought up their biggest fan – the young BC boy who carried the New Brunswick flag during the opening ceremonies and cheered for all things New Brunswick throughout the Championships.
To say that this year’s event was an overwhelming success would be an understatement. Players, officials and fans alike enjoyed every moment. The bar has been raised and the future is bright.
Next year’s event is being held in Winnipeg, Manitoba.