TWO local bowlers kept the Eastern Province flag flying high over the weekend when they collected bronze medals at the South African Masters singles championship.
The best players in the country met at the Port Elizabeth and Park Drive Bowling clubs from Friday to Sunday in gusty winds to compete for the highest accolade on the South African bowling calendar.
Juane Meyer (Mill Park), 22, took bronze in the Junior Men's Masters having missed the playoffs by a single point.
Wilma McLachlan (Western Suburbs) won three out of five games to receive bronze in her section of the Senior Women's Masters.
Meyer, who has competed in four South African Junior Masters, won silver in 2009.
He said he was happy with how he had played, having won three out of five games.
The Eastern Province u-25 lead missed playing for gold with section winner Eugene Ferriera from Western Province, pipping him by one point. Meyer had a better shot aggregate.
"It was so close. You only realised how close it was afterwards,” said Meyer.
"But there is nothing you can do about it. That is bowls.”
He said it is nice to do well in his home town because there is a lot of pressure to perform.
The young bowler started playing the game in 2003 under his grandparents' influence.
They played often and he would tag along, said Meyer.
"I grew up at the bowls green. I first started playing with lemons in my gran's passage,” he laughs.
Meyer is in the South African Silver Squad and was selected for the EP Open Men's B side this year.
He said his goals are to do well in the B side and Eastern Province competitions this year.
"I also obviously want to win the South African Masters at least once,” he added.
Having won silver last year, McLachlan said she was disappointed not to have made the final.
"But a medal is a medal,” she said.
"I'm just happy to get one and do my best for my province.”
In her only two losses of the tournament, the Western Suburbs bowler lost one game by a mere four shots and went down by five in the other.
McLachlan has played in two South African Masters events and received her national colours last year.
Last year's junior women's champion Desmarie Rosenblatt (Mill Park), 21, faced some experienced opponents in the Open section this year.
Although winning only two games, Rosenblatt fared well against the Springboks in her section in several tightly contested games.
Two of her losses came to a 20-21 scoreline and there were less than seven shots' difference in the other two losses.
Lourenza van der Merwe (Western Suburbs), a late stand-in, won three out of five games to finish joint fifth in her section.