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Namibia win gold in women’s fours

Namibia won its first gold medal at the African States Bowls Tournament yesterday when it won the women’s fours category. 

The Namibian team consisting of Marietjie van den Bergh, Diana Viljoen, Amanda Steenkamp and Elzaan de Vries posted a commanding 26-8 victory against South Africa in their final match yesterday morning to finish on top of the log.

Earlier they also beat Zambia 17-16, Botswana 33-8, and Zimbabwe 16-10, while their only defeat was against Kenya who beat them 20-15. 

Namibia finished on top of the log on 12 points to win the gold medal, while Zimbabwe just pipped South Africa to the silver medal. Both teams finished on nine points, but Zimbabwe had a better shot aggregate of 10, compared to South Africa’s -4. 

It was the first time in recent history that Namibia’s women had won the fours competition at the AST and their skipper Van den Bergh said it was a great team effort. 

“We were not able to relax, we were very lucky to get a seven early in the game which was a turnaround for us, so then we had our tails up. We were just going for it, but they still provided very good opposition so we are very happy with the result. I just want to thank my team mates, they all played very well and it was agreat team effort,” she said. 

“We only lost one match against Kenya, but their skip Esther (Wanjiru) played very well in that match. We only lost by five shots against them, but they were better on the day,” she added. 

Namibian fours skip Marietjie van den Bergh interviewed after winning the fours competition at the African States Tournament on 29 June 2023. Video: Helge Schütz

With the pairs and trips competitions now coming up, Van den Bergh said they would now also target gold.

“We are going for gold in the pairs and the trips. We are very positive – we have a great team, we trust in the ability of the other players and well done to the selectors for putting it together,” she said. 

The women’s singles competition, meanwhile, had a thrilling finale as Zimbabwe’s Jane Rigby just pipped South Africa’s Francesca Baleri to the gold medal. 

Rigby thumped Elandri Collington of Botswana 21-2 in her final match yesterday to finish on 12 points with a shot difference of 33. 

Baleri beat Zambia’s Mildred Mkandawire 21-17 in her final match, which also put her on 12 points, but with a slightly inferior shot difference of 28 to take the silver medal, while Mkandawire won the bronze medal after finishing on six points with a shot difference of 10. 

Namibia’s Bianca Lewis and Collington also finished on six points each, but missed out on a podium place with inferior shot aggregates of one and -30 respectively. 

Zimbabwe and South Africa, meanwhile won the gold medals in the men’s pairs and trips competitions which ended on Wednesday. 

In the men’s pairs competition Zimbabwe’s Clive Robertson and Myles Hooper won the gold medal with a total of 12 points, while South Africa just pipped Botswana to the silver medal. They both finished on nine points, but SA had a slightly better shot difference of 17 compared to Botswana’s eight. 

South Africa’s Niksa Benguric, Charles Mathewson and Wayne Roberts won the gold medal in the men’s trips competition with a total of 15 points after winning all five their matches.

Botswana won silver with nine points and Zimbabwe bronze with seven points.