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International test match bowls

Bowls players from Portugal and Spain took part in the annual two-day test match between the countries on October 31 at the Indalo Club in Mojacar.

Bowls Portugal were represented by members of the Amendoeira, Luz, Valverde and Vilamoura clubs and all members wore their new team shirts sponsored by Eurofinesco.

With Spain having an overwhelming advantage in the number of clubs and bowlers, this fixture is always a stiff challenge for the plucky Portugal team, having been played on carpet for the first time in a two-set format against the might of Spain, especially as Portugal’s bowlers mainly play on grass while Spain play on an artificial surface, with very different characteristics.

True to form, Spain were convincing winners, with Portugal gaining one victory in the pairs, where Vilamoura’s Graham Martin and Tony Gilbert soundly beat their opponents.

Overall, the Portugal ladies team were most successful, pushing Spain to tie breaks in five games, with Valverde’s Mary Banks and Irene Kerr involved in three, Vilamoura’s Polly Labanti, Evelyn Gilbert and Mandy Fitzgibbon in two and Kate Hewitson and Maggie Martin from Vilamoura, Alison Roberts from Luz, and Babs Moss from Amendoeira all one.

Despite the results, there were no long faces on the Bowls Portugal team or gloating from the Spain players, because this match is less about results and more about fostering the spirit of sportsmanship and cooperation between the two countries, and in that the Bowls Portugal team were worthy opponents.

This spirit was highlighted on the second day when the ladies pairs and fours went to protracted tie breaks and were watched by players and supporters alike.

The oldest competitor, Bowls Portugal’s 80-year old Irene Kerr, featured in both and became something of a crowd favourite. So much so that, in a spontaneous gesture, the Indalo Club president described her as the new kid on the block and presented her with a tie and honorary membership of their club, to cheers all round.

For further information about the Bowls Portugal Federation, please call Tony on 289 360 849

The Federation is open to all bowlers from any of the clubs in Portugal.

Tony Gilbert