Vision Impaired Bowls England Squad in Israel Test Series – included four Metro members!

England VI Bowls team in Israel

On 21 May this year Visually Impaired Bowls England sent a squad to Israel,
to participate in a four country test series. The countries being Israel,
South Africa, Scotland and England.

The England squad included four Metro members. Two of these being selected
as B2 bowlers in Maureen Ryan and Harish Kumrai. Gail Hepworth and David
Mears accompanied them as Directors.

The team arrived at their Hotel in Netanya at a very respectable time in the
afternoon. This allowed plenty of time to relax before going out for an
evening meal with the rest of the team. I best not say anything about the
meal itself.

The following morning found us doing some souvenir shopping, before
travelling to one of our host clubs for practice.

There was an open tournament held at Ramat Gan bowling club between Monday
and Wednesday. This enabled some non-international Israeli bowlers to take
part. Maureen and Harish were clearly going to use these three days as a
warm up before the main competition. Whilst they were competitive, they
could not quite secure enough points in either singles or pairs to get among
the prize winners.

Thursday to Saturday saw us at Ra’nana for the international test series.
Maureen and Harish were again playing both singles and pairs. Life was made
more difficult as the two greens were very different.

Their first pairs match was against South Africa who’s skip is a current
world champion. Harish led in this match, and he was intent on winning a
medal. It was as though he had planted magnates in his bowls and the jack.
Our pair won by 27 – 5. A huge victory. Later that day Israel beat Scotland
by just 4 shots. The following day the Metro pair were to draw against a
strong Israeli pair. As a result, it was all down to the match against
Scotland. Harish and Maureen gained a comfortable lead, and then let it slip
a bit. I was getting a little fraught. However, I need not have worried our
pair went away again, winning comfortably in the end. I then rushed off to
see how Israel were getting on against South Africa. Just to make sure they
did not win by a massive number of shots. They did not, so it was gold for
Metro and England.

Harish and Maureen Israel 2016
Harish and Maureen Israel 2016

In the singles Maureen beat the South African B2, and was getting used to
that particular green. Sadly for Harish, Steve Coleman showed why he is the
current world champion. This was also Harish’s first experience of playing
at this level.

Maureen came so very close to beating the well travelled and experienced B2
from Israel, losing 21 – 18 in the end. On Saturday she played Sheila, who
was with the Scotland team. Half way through the game Maureen was well
behind on a very fast, swinging rink. At this time her Director decided he
needed to revert to front coaching. Suddenly Maureen was getting the green,
and the weight was better controlled. She eventually won the game, and with
it the silver medal. An encouraging performance from both bowlers before the
play off for next year’s world bowls.

It was helpful of Metro to send a mascot in Lea Ryan. Lea supported us
throughout. I was supplied with endless cups of tea, which is all that was
important really.

On our last full day in Israel we spent a relaxing time at the Dead Sea.
Rather hot though.

Report by David Mears.

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