India’s lawn bowls women’s fours team made history on Tuesday by winning gold at the Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham. This was the country’s first medal in the lawn bowls event and the team, made of skipper Rupa Rani Tirkey, Lovely Choubey, Pinki, and Nayanmoni Saikia, ended up winning the title itself after beating 2018 silver medallists South Africa.
South Africa won the coin toss and set the jack after which it was India that took the opening round with a point. They, however, came back in the second, with South African skipper Johanna Snyman ensuring with the last bowl that her team fetched two points. South Africa seemed to have the advantage to equalize the scores while trailing 2-3 during the fifth end. But India captain Rupa Rani Tirkey turned things around with her last bowl which meant that it was her team that took a two-point lead. It extended to a five-point lead after a sensational three-point End 6.
Historic win in Birmingham! India is proud of Lovely Choubey, Pinki Singh, Nayanmoni Saikia and Rupa Rani Tirkey for bringing home the prestigious Gold in Lawn Bowls. The team has demonstrated great dexterity and their success will motivate many Indians towards Lawn Bowls. pic.twitter.com/RvuoGqpQET— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 2, 2022
South Africa then started fighting back after the seventh end. India didn’t get a point in three consecutive ends and the South Africans managed to level proceedings at 8-8 at the 10th end. This trend continued and they were leading India 10-8 in the next round. Tirkey then managed to get India two-point end once again and it was all square at 10-10 after the 12th end. This was followed by another two-point end and India took a 12-10 lead. Snyman ended up pushing three Indian bowls closer to the jack in her first attempt and could not disturb the formation after that, which meant that India went into the final end with their five-point lead restored. They held their nerve and won two more points to win the match 17-10.
Coming together from as diverse fields as police, teaching and administration, the quartet of Choubey, Tirkey, Pinki and Saikia, finally have something to answer back to naysayers. The team had earlier defeated New Zealand 16-13 in the semi-final to earn a maiden final appearance in the women’s fours format of the competition.
Against New Zealand, after conceding a 0-5 lead after the second-end, the Indian team made a strong comeback against the NZ team of Selina Goddard (lead), Nicole Toomey (second), Tayle Bruce (third) and Val Smith (skip). After end-9, they were tied 7-7 but after end-10, India had taken a 10-7 lead. It was a close contest between the two sides, as New Zealand were marginally 13-12 ahead after end-14. A brilliant shot from Tirkey helped India seal the game with a 16-13 scoreline.