Bowls hero Gilbert Miles summoned the spirit of Welsh legend Robert Weale to take bronze in dramatic style.
Picture the scene. It’s the last throw of the dice and you and your pairs partner have one shot to grab a medal. But it has to be perfection – a once in a blue moon bowl that weaves through traffic and nestles gently against the jack.
Welsh skipper Miles produced exactly that – a stunning last bowl to snatch victory over Scotland in the mixed B2/B3 pairs, for visually impaired competitors, at the Commonwealth Games.
Miles – at 72, the oldest competitor in the Wales squad – made a pinpoint shot when it mattered most in the tie-breaker.
“I remember Robert Weale saying he felt cool when he won in Delhi and I felt really cool, no nerves, something in the air and it went really well with the work we put in,” said Miles.
It was the finish of a lifetime for Miles and one that his sporting heroes Sir Gareth Edwards, Barry John and Phil Bennett would have been proud of.
The Pontardulais veteran of the Glasgow Games four years ago, who once played rugby for Swansea, added: “I was a sportsman all my life.
— Welsh VI Bowls (@WelshVIBowls) April 11, 2018
“When I lost my sight in ’95, I wanted to carry on competing. I have been playing bowls since 1995. I have also been playing visually impaired bowls since 2007.”
Julie Thomas (Lead), John Wilson (Lead Director), Gilbert Miles (Skip) and John Byron (Skip Director) went up against Scotland counterparts Irene Edgar (Lead), David Thomas (Lead Director), Robert Barr (Skip) and Sarah-Jane Ewing (Skip Director) in the 16-end match.
Wales beat Scotland 13-12 in the dramatic sudden-death end and Thomas said claiming the bronze medal made up for the loss against South Africa in the semi-final.
“I think we were so disappointed yesterday that the semi-final turned on the last ball of the last end, and we turned it round tonight,” said Thomas.
The Wales men’s fours team of Ross Owen, Stephen Harris, Marc Wyatt and Jonathan Tomlinson also had a good day, securing their third consecutive win with a dominant 14 – 4 victory over the Cook Islands in their round four fixture.
They will square up against New Zealand in a round five fixture on Thursday.
The women’s pairs team of Laura Daniels and Jessica Sims started off the day well with an 18- 13 win over Northern Ireland in round four, before going down to South Africa 23 -17 in the fifth.