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Commonwealth Games 2002
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Bowls Sunday, 4 August, 2002, 14:06 GMT 15:06 UK
Donnelly edges out Henry

Jeremy Henry looks on as Robert Donnelly gains a surprise win
Donnelly secured a surprise win over Henry

Late substitute Bobby Donnelly was a surprise winner of the men's singles gold medal after defeating world outdoor champion Jeremy Henry.

Donnelly had only been been brought into South Africa's squad after their original pick for the singles suffered a broken leg.

But the 39-year-old from Johannesburg took control midway the final to defeat his more lauded opponent 21-15.

His 28-year-old rival from Ballymoney had won the World Bowls finals two years ago as well as collecting five British titles.

open quote
It's funny how life works out
end quote
Bobby Donnelly
He also already had a singles bronze from the Commonwealth Games of 1998 in his locker and was unbeaten throughout the group and knockout stages.

Donnelly could, understandabley, hardly believe his rise to fame after claiming his first major title.

"It's funny how life works out," he said.

"Six weeks ago, I was not even in the squad and now I have won a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games."

Donnelly was making his first Games appearance, although he did win silver in the World Championship fours in 2000.

But he showed that earlier defeats of top players Robert Weale of Wales and Mervyn King of England were no flukes as he fought back from 8-4 down.

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It just was not my day
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Jeremy Henry
After picking up a couple of shots, a four at the 10th end turned the match in Donnelly's favour at 10-8.

He never looked back and finally reached the necessary total after picking up a single on the 24th end.

Henry said: "It just was not my day. He played the conditions better than me.

"I am disappointed not to win gold, but you come here looking for a medal and silver is better than nothing at all.

"I now have a silver and bronze, so I would like to go to Melbourne in four year's time and complete the set."

Weale and New Zealand's Mike Kernaghan, who both lost in thesemi-finals, won bronze.


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