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Israel's bowlers were happy to end the Maccabiah having contributed 13 medals to Israel's overall tally of hundreds. The 13 trophies were evenly split between the men's and women's squads: The men won 7 and the women 6.

Also, for the third time running, Israel's men and women won the Max Spitz trophies for the overall tally of points scored in the four disciplines of singles, pairs, triples and fours.

But there was no easy pathway for the Israelis, and the very close contests - particularly between Israel and South Africa - were reminiscent of the early years, when matches invariably ended with neck-and-neck finishes.

Israel's men in fact won only one gold in the four disciplines - the singles title. That went to Haviv Takin, who won all eight of his games. The South Africans came through for gold in the pairs, triples and fours.

However, the team of Raymond Sher, Rami Oron, Danny Slodovnik, Denis Phillips and Zvika Hadar won the silver in all four disciplines, and that totaled up for the overall Spitz trophy.

Two of Israel's bronze medals were earned by the team of Yair Bekier, Colin Silberstein, Alan Saitowitz, David Kontenta and Haviv Takin.

South Africa's foursome of Ben Kassel, Larry Berman, Okey Fine and Joe Diamnt were an outstanding combination, winning all eight of their games. Kassel, Berman and Diamnt added the triples crown with a single loss to Australia's Arnold Javern, Gary Benewiste and Bernard Fridman; the latter three won the bronze.

In the pairs, South Africa's Roy Lampert and Stanly Friedman edged out Israel's Takin and Kontenta with a last end win for the title.

Women's battle pits South Africa, Israel

Among the women, the race between Israel and South Africa was even closer, with each winning six medals, including two golds apiece.

Irit Grencel repeated her previous 2005 singles win, going undefeated in five games, while Tami Kamzel, Edna Zomberg and Tzila Gavish took the triples.

South Africa's Annette Diamant and Merle Gampel took the pairs against Zomberg and Dalia Schneider, while Bernice Berg, Merle Gampel, Sandra Lurie and Cynthia Katz won the gold in the fours.

The latter foursome, together with Annette Diamant, actually finished level with Israel on points for the overall Spitz trophy. But the Israelis came through on shot difference.

The lawn bowls competition for 2009 was held in honor of the late Theresa Metz, a former lawn bowler from South Africa who, together with her husband Norman, supported many charities.

Norman sponsored the tournament, in which his son Lawrence Metz participated, and presented a floating trophy for the most successful country - of which the first recipient was Israel.