Commonwealth Games 2002
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Bowls Tuesday, 30 July, 2002, 15:52 GMT 16:52 UK
England women take gold
England's Gill Mitchell and Carol Duckworth (hat) will on a bowl from Ellen Alexander
Mitchell and Duckworth will on a bowl from Alexander

England's quartet of Ellen Alexander, Shirley Page, Gill Mitchell and Carol Duckworth have struck gold in the lawn bowls women's fours.

They beat Canada's Shirley Fitzpatrick-Wong, Andrea Weigand, Melissa Ranger and Anita Nivala 17-6 in a rain-interrupted final at Heaton Park.

The English quartet took an early 3-0 lead but found themselves 4-3 down after the fourth end.

But after levelling at the next, they moved into a 6-5 lead midway through the 15-end final and never looked back.

open quote
We showed inner strength to produce the goods when it mattered
end quote
Ellen Alexander

The decisive move came in the ninth end, England winning it 3-0 to extend their lead to 9-5.

They proceeded to win the next four ends 2-0 to secure England's first Commonwealth bowling gold since 1986.

It was a second Commonwealth medal for Page, 61, who was a member of the four that took bronze in Kuala Lumpur four years ago.

"We had a bad start but we were still together," she said. "We dug in and it all came right in the last four ends."

Duckworth, also 61, was understandably proud to captain the quartet to victory on home soil.

"They were fantastic," she said. "We always had a chance the way we were bowling."

Gill Mitchell (left) and Ellen Alexander are helped on with their waterproofs as heavy rain stops play
Heavy rain forced play to be stopped at one point

Mitchell, 53, who won a bronze medal at the 1996 World Bowls fours, admitted the nerves had started to show as victory beckoned.

"I don't think any of us were nervous at the beginning but playing 15 ends is pretty hard," she said.

"It was a tight game and the scoreline didn't really reflect that."

Alexander, the baby of the team at 23, was delighted to win her first major championship medal.

"The whole experience has been tremendous," she said. "We pulled together and showed inner strength to produce the goods when it mattered."

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