BOWLS: Ruby seals successful spell for Spalding

Ruby Hill
Ruby Hill

Ruby Hill won the national under-18 singles title and Spalding had four members of a successful International Series for England.

Following the Ladies International Series, in which Spalding had four players in the England squad, the club had Annie Dunham and Martin Spencer representing England in the British Isles Singles Championships, also held in Belfast.

Round robin matches

Round robin matches

They were selected as national singles champions and were pitched against the winners of the other home countries’ titles.

Dunham faced a tough task when she lost 21-4 to Chloe Watson from Ireland.

Spencer also came up against an Irish opponent in his first match with Graham McKee putting up a good fight before the Spalding man claimed a 21-15 victory.

He set up a final against current world champion Paul Foster from Scotland.

Players and officials at Castle Sports Complex

Players and officials at Castle Sports Complex

A thrilling comeback saw Spencer hold game until Foster took the two closest bowls out to take the title 21-19.

Next up was the Men’s International Series, again in Belfast, and it proved another successful one for England.

Matt Whyers and Graham Smith formed a front end for skip Rob Paxton (Taunton Deane) with Perry Martin (Swale) making up the set.

Spencer was recalled to the side, leading for skip Jamie Chestney (Exonia), David Bolt (South Shields) and Neil McKee (Kingsthorpe).

Matt Orrey was selected as travelling reserve.

First up were Wales with England taking control early on and winning 128-93.

Smith and Whyers won 23-15 while Spencer took a 19-14 victory.

Ireland were up next and England dispatched them with ease, winning 137-90. Spencer won 26-21 while Whyers and Smith won 24-12.

With Scotland winning both their matches, a final day clash would decide who took the spoils.

A typically nip and tuck match saw Scotland take the lead but England fought back and remained a few shots ahead for the final few ends, posting a final score of 118-112. Both Spalding rinks won again – Spencer by 22 shots to 16 with Whyers and Smith winning 32-18.

For the Spalding players, all managed to post 100 per cent records.

Rounding off a brilliant few days was Hill who faced the added pressure of the National Under-18 Singles being in front of a home crowd, with Spalding again given the honour of hosting the event on Sunday.

With round robin matches starting at 9am, the packed crowd were treated to an excellent standard of bowls.

After three matches, Hill topped her group to reach the semi-finals, with wins over I Cracknell, A Pitfield and J Larter.

An open draw saw Hill pitched against Cumbria’s Daniel Pool who took the opening set 11-3 before Hill fought back in the next, winning it 11-7 to set up a tie-break.

Hill was down in both ends of the tie-break but found wonder bowls in both to take an unassailable lead, 2-0 to reach the final.

In the other semi-final, Devon Cooper (Riverain) beat William Moulton (White Oak) in straight sets to set up a clash with Hill.

A full house saw another high quality match with Hill pipping Cooper in the first set 7-5.

Hill reached top gear and took a comfortable 10-1 victory in set two to claim the title.