Smith seeks elusive world championship title

ON A ROLL: Scottish bowler and four times Commonwealth Games gold medallist, Lorna Smith, is unbeaten at the world singles championships at Burnside.
ON A ROLL: Scottish bowler and four times Commonwealth Games gold medallist, Lorna Smith, is unbeaten at the world singles championships at Burnside.

Scotland's Lorna Smith is on a mission to capture one of the few international bowls titles to elude her.

Smith has carved out an outstanding career in the sport, winning four Commonwealth Games medals -including two golds- as well as four world championship medals.

This week, she is hoping to add another piece of silverware to her collection in the world champion of champions singles tournament at the Burnside club in Christchurch.

Smith, who previously represented South Africa, has come close to glory in the champion of champions before, making the semi-finals of the 2004 version, but lost on the final bowl of the game to eventual champion Margaret Johnston from Northern Ireland. She also performed strongly two years later, but was tipped over in the last eight.

Smith has made a bright start to this year's event, winning her opening four section games, including wins over her Malaysian and Irish rivals yesterday.

She was happy with her form early on and said the challenge would be to maintain her accuracy and not get carried away.

"I've just got to play well and that's it. I've got a thing in my head, 'Bend down and follow through'. Sometimes I get so excited about a shot, I tend to let go and then I lift [my head up]."

Smith's lawn bowls CV is littered with achievements, but she singles out the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria, Canada, as her fondest memory.

South Africa returned to the Games for the first time since 1958 following the country's sporting boycott during the apartheid era.

It proved to be a special one for Smith and the South African four combination, who won gold.

"That was the first time after 36 years that South Africa was back. It was wonderful. That was the most fantastic opener ever. It brings back memories," she said.

Four years later, she backed up that performance, with another gold in the women's four at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur.

Smith was recognised for her services being presented the South African sports ambassador award from then-president Nelson Mandela in 1999, which she was humbled by.

She then moved across to the singles for the 2002 and 2006 Commonwealth Games, winning bronze medals at both events.

Smith was also proud of her 2008 world championship title in the triples, where she helped skip South Africa to victory.

Smith switched allegiance to Scotland in 2008 and has represented her adopted country in the home nations tournament for the past three years. She has won the Scottish women's singles title the past two years and was also triumphant in this year's British Isles singles championship.

Smith shares the lead in her section with Norfolk Island's Carmen Andersen who is also unbeaten. New Zealand's Val McEldowney is one of three players with three wins from four matches after scoring victories against Hong Kong-China 8-8 8-4 and Guernsey 9-4 9-8 yesterday.

The only unbeaten player in section one is Australian Karen Murphy with five from five.

Shaun Scott is flying the New Zealand flag strongly in his section adding another two wins yesterday, against Israel 12-9 8-8 and Guernsey 21-0 6-5 to be the only player with four wins.

In the other section Australian Dylan Fisher is dominating with five from five.

The Press