Bowls: Perseverance with borrowed bowls pays off
Crawford (54), a compliance officer with Inland Revenue in Dunedin, ordered a new set of Henselite Dreamland XG bowls from Australia but they did not arrive in time for the championships.
Scott lent her the set he had used over the past three years to win five Bowls Dunedin titles.
”I didn’t have the confidence and struggled with the new bowls during the first week,” Crawford told the Otago Daily Times from the Naenae green yesterday.
”But I got better the more I played with them.”
Crawford won five of her six games – against Australia (21-1), Hong Kong-China (21-10), South Africa (21-2), Australia (21-18) and South Africa (21-6).
Her only loss was in the second game against Hong Kong-China (21-16).
”I’m over the moon and very excited. It’s what I wanted to do,” Crawford said.
The only other New Zealand bowler to win a gold medal was James Dunn (Paeroa, Waikato) in the blind B-4 singles.
The blind bowlers also won three silver and three bronze medals.
In the disabled section, Pam Walker (Dunedin) finished fourth in the B-6 singles and mixed pairs with Peter Wyllie (Oamaru). Crawford was fourth in the B-8 mixed pairs with Dave Dornan, of Wellington.
Crawford grew up in a family of talented indoor bowlers and won 15 Otago titles with the small bowls.
She was ambitious when she started playing with the big bowls outdoors – she won the New Zealand pairs title with Ann Muir last year and has won 22 Bowls Dunedin titles – but she only joined the Disabled Bowls Association last October, after being impressed by what she saw on television of disabled bowls at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Crawford qualified for the world championships when she beat Commonwealth Games silver medallist Lynda Bennett (Waikato) 21-6 in the singles final at the New Zealand championships in Auckland.
Crawford, whose left arm was paralysed after a medical misadventure at the age of 4, said it had been an exciting week.
”The competition was quite tough. I played against bowlers who had played at the Commonwealth Games and who play regularly in able-bodied bowls.”
The experience in Wellington has given Crawford a taste for international bowls and she is keen to compete in the disabled bowls events at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in 2018.
Dunedin’s Bruce Walker was manager-coach of the disabled section of the New Zealand team.
There were 130 bowlers from 13 countries competing at the championships.