England's bowls stars ease past Cook Islands at Birmingham Commonwealth Games

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Sian Honnor believes Saturday's win was a good test for her side
Sian Honnor believes Saturday's win was a good test for her side

By James Reid in Birmingham

It takes nearly a day and a half to get to Leamington Spa from the Cook Islands, but their lawn bowls women’s four team showed no signs of jet lag despite defeat to England at the Commonwealth Games.

The Pacific islanders were beaten 19-7 by the home nation in a hard-fought contest as the sun began to set at Victoria Park.

And Whitstable’s Sian Honnor believes it was a good test for her England team ahead of their quarter-final against South Africa on Sunday.

“That was quite a different game for us tactically because of the way the Cook Islands play,” said skip Honnor.

“We were aware of that before we started so it was very much about getting positional bowls which is quite a different game for us, but we knew it would be and we played it really well.”

Three-time Commonwealth medallist Honnor has made the perfect start to her 2022 Commonwealth campaign but believes there is still room for improvement.

“There’s plenty left in the tank,” she added.

“The girls played really well but we know we can take it up a notch and that’s exactly what we’ll be looking to do tomorrow.”

Under 20,000 people live on the Cook Islands, an associated territory of New Zealand, and is one of several smaller nations represented at lawn bowls, including Niue and Norfolk Island.

And bowler Emily Jim believes the Games are a perfect opportunity to put her nation on the map.

“It’s a great opportunity to show our culture over here,” she said.

“It’s been a great experience challenging higher countries. Our aim was to get England under 20 so it was a success.”

There was also success for Dartford’s Michelle White in the para women’s pairs, as she beat Scotland 19-7 alongside Gill Platt to give the duo a good chance of qualification.

The pair began their campaign badly with defeat in the opening game before roaring back with two wins in a row, and White now feels at home on the big stage.

“We’ve had a really long day just sitting around waiting and you just really want to get out on that green and play,” reflected White.

“We’ve kept our calm, chilled out, had a nice peaceful day and then done the business on the green.

“This is our home, you’ve got the crowd behind you, you can hear them shouting your name. It just spurs you on, it’s fantastic.”

There has never been a better time to discover bowls, truly a sport for everybody.  It is all to play for – discover more at www.bowlsengland.com

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