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BIRMINGHAM 2022 PREVIEW | Marshall plays down quest for record medals haul

Scotland’s Alex Marshall MBE is taking a modest attitude as he stands on the brink of creating lawn bowls history.

Marshall needs one more Commonwealth Games gold to become the outright holder of two records – the bowler with the most medals and the most golds.

He shares his overall total of six with Wales team manager Robert Weale, and his five golds matches that of England’s late hero David Bryant CBE.

“David Bryant is a guy I rate as one of all-time greats of the sport, an absolute legend of a guy and a gentleman, so I’d be privileged,” Marshall said about eclipsing the record they share.

“Breaking records and things like that doesn’t really bother me. My focus is purely on winning the game in hand, and if I happen to win another gold medal then so be it.”

Marshall will contest the men’s pairs and fours events at Birmingham 2022, once again beside long-time Scotland playing partner Paul Foster MBE.

The major challenge could come from a strong England team who can count on vast experience of the greens at Victoria Park, which is home to their annual national championships.

England performance director John McGuinness acknowledges the advantage for his players, but recognises the skill of their rivals.

“The players are very familiar with the environment and even though the greens have been re-laid, some of the characteristics of the green we also know,” McGuinness said.

“Some southern hemisphere teams are not used to playing on this type of grass, and the pace of the green tends to be heavier than some of them are used to, but they are playing so well that they’ll suit all good bowlers.”

Notably, Australia have never won a gold medal in lawn bowls at a Commonwealth Games held in the Northern Hemisphere, but are defending champions in four of the 11 events to be contested at Birmingham 2022. They have enlisted the services of former world champion Andy Thomson MBE, a Scotsman who switched to represent England as a player, as tactical coach to help them prepare.

Rebecca Van Asch (AUS) claimed gold in the triples and fours at the Gold Coast 2018 Games and will contest the same two competitions again with different combinations, while team-mates Aaron Wilson and Jake Fehlberg are looking for back-to-back golds in the men’s singles and para mixed pairs respectively.

Malaysia’s Emma Firyana Saroji and Siti Zalina Ahmad could become the first pair to defend the women’s pairs title. Ahmad insists that is her mission, despite having the chance to win a record third gold medal in the singles.

[Article provided by Games News Service]

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