Hamstring injury hampers Murphy as dispute mars Dutch Moors event

Defending European champion Robert Scholten of the Netherlands, Ireland’s Martin Coppinger and Germany FKV’s Daniel Heiken will have their fates decided by a jury
Hamstring injury hampers Murphy as dispute mars Dutch Moors event

No stopping her: Dutch star Silke Tulke secured her bit of history by winning a fourth successive gold medal in Dutch Moors.

David Murphy looks almost certain to miss his chance of winning a fourth successive European senior road bowling gold medal after picking up a hamstring injury in today's Dutch Moors event at Kaltenhörn in northern Germany.

A savage wind off the North Sea battered the beautifully appointed course throughout the day, making conditions difficult for competitors and fans. The injury to Murphy, on his last shot in the second last score of the day, cast gloom over the Irish camp. Almost instantly this was overtaken by a bizarre rule dispute for the gold medal.

Defending European champion Robert Scholten of the Netherlands, Ireland’s Martin Coppinger and Germany FKV’s Daniel Heiken were all in a cluster for the last shot to decide the order on the podium. Heiken played, but his bowl drifted off the course, in normal circumstance it would be marked at the point it departed the course.

This would have left Scholten and Coppinger in a duel for gold and silver. A rule, peculiar to the European championships, holds that if a bowl is accidentlaly stopped it can be retaken. The referee was advised that the bowl may have hit someone and should be retaken. After a delay and objections from both Ireland and the Netherlands, Heiken was allowed to take his throw again.

This time he played a far superior bowl, which Scholten missed by less than two metres and Coppinger ended a metre behind Scholten. This would have meant that Heiken had won gold, Scholten silver and Coppinger bronze. Further objections from Ireland and the Netherlandss, means that the matter will now go to a jury on Saturday for resolution.

Overall it was a disappointing day for the Irish men. James O’Donovan, silver medallist in 2016, was closest to Coppinger in seventh place, Séamus Sexton was a further seven places back, with the rest of the team ended in the minor places.

Dutch star, Silke Tulk, secured her bit of history by winning a fourth successive gold medal in Dutch Moors. She completed three-in-a-row as a senior, preceded by her under-18 gold won in Cork in 2008. She had almost 100m to spare on her closest rival and Dutch compatriot Suzan Ziewverink, with Wiebke Schröder of Germany FKV winning bronze. Hannah Sexton, in her first outing as a senior international, finished the best of the Irish in seventh place.

The Irish youth team missed out on gold to Hauke Roolfs of Germany FKV. Tommy O’Sullivan who finished just 11m back in silver, will be ruing the few tiny things that would have bridged that gap. Darragh Dempsey won the bronze medal and Jamie Kelleher was just nine metres outside the medals in fourth place Hannah de Vries won the girls under-18 title for Germany FKV, with the Dutch filling the next two places on the podium with Imke Haring taking silver and Sophie Koebrugge bronze. Rachel Kingston, in sixth place, was best of the Irish.

German Lofting will take centre stage on Saturday, this is likely to be a battle between the two German teams. On Sunday the teams will move to the road. Ireland will be anticipating a lot more success in this event than was the case on the Moors course.

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