Golden thirst remains for bowler Lester

Murray Wenzel / AAP News


The now three-time Commonwealth Games silver medallist is aiming to add the elusive gold medal to complete his Commonwealth Games career set of medals.


A “Blest” Barrie Lester won’t have to look far for something to toast with if that elusive Commonwealth Games gold finally arrives.

A vibrant figure on the Australian lawn bowls scene, Lester and his triples teammates Carl Healey and Ben Twist were denied the sport’s first of 11 golds on offer in Birmingham in spectacular fashion on Monday.

Trailing 12-1 to an English team that could do no wrong, they rallied to level at 12-12 with two ends to play.

They held the shot in both of those, only for English skip Jamie Chestney to twice produce the goods.

Australian skip Ben Twist had two chances to knock the jack into the gutter and either send the gold medal game to overtime, or win.

But they missed slightly to the right and England prevailed 14-12.

Lester won bronze at the 2006 Melbourne Games and then collected two silvers on the Gold Coast four years ago.

“We just put ourselves in the best position possible; if it shines as a silver or gold, you’ll take it,” he told AAP after his latest medal.

“You need the (lucky) birdie on the shoulder, the bowls golds.

“Bowls is one of those sports, one day you can go out and play average and win everything or … play really well and not have the runs on the board.”

The 40-year-old has literally squeezed everything out of his talents in a relatively low profile sport, living for moments like Monday at a packed and pulsing Victoria Park in Leamington Spa, on the outskirts of Birmingham.

On his own website he explains the philosophy of “BLEST”, a play on his name that stands for bowls, leadership, excellence, skills and training.

He’s partnered with a friend to produce his own range of Blest wines, the profits of which support him and Bowls Australia’s Disaster Relief Fund.

He laughed that he had a case ready to toast a potential gold in the men’s fours, an event he earned silver in four years ago.

“The wine project was much supported by a friend of mine that wanted to support me,” he told reporters after collecting a third Games silver.

“Steve’s Liquor is a sponsor of mine and they just produced a wine in my name to support me.

“We all survive off the support of our clubs and employers, couldn’t do it without them to be here and have time away from work.”



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