England bowler Gill Platt demanded more clubs open their doors to disabled people as she criticised some archaic attitudes within the sport.
Surrey septuagenarian Platt and partner Michelle White were beaten 16-10 by Scottish duo Rosemary Lenton and Pauline Wilson in the semi-finals of the para women’s pairs at the Commonwealth Games, but have lit up the greens with their sunny disposition and vocal support for greater representation on the rink.
Both players represent their county at national level, and hope their performances can inspire more people to have a bowl.
“I just hope that people out there, with any disability, can see us and think ‘I can do that’,” said Platt, who is making her Commonwealth Games debut aged 74.
“Unfortunately, there are a lot of clubs that don’t welcome disabled people and that needs to change, the attitude needs to change.
“We are as good as the able-bodied and they need to accept that, and clubs need to accept us.
“We’ve heard of one or two clubs that have said ‘we don’t have disabled bowlers here’ – that should never be said.
“Let’s hope seeing us here, it’ll go forward.”
The England duo had beaten their Scottish rivals in the group stage 19-7, but could not repeat the trick in the semi-finals.
Lenton and Wilson raced into an 11-3 lead which proved too much for Platt and White, despite a late comeback to come within two shots with two ends to play.
“We gave it our best game,” said White. “It’s difficult for us in the morning, half eight, you’ve got to be here for seven, it took me a while to warm up but when we got into it, we fought right back at them.
“We pulled it back to two shots when we were eight behind – that in itself is something to be proud of.
“We’ve given it everything we can, we can still win a medal and that’s our focus now.
Platt and White still have a chance at medalling as they take on South Africa in the bronze medal match on Wednesday.
The pair lost 17-13 to their opponents in the group stage and will be looking for revenge, but are content with their time at the Games whatever happens.
“Hopefully when we come back on Wednesday our fighting spirit will be there and we’ll be smiling. We’ll just do our best.
“If we get a medal we do, if we don’t we’ve had a fantastic Commonwealth Games and I’ve been very proud to have been selected and play here.