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Spalding pair Whyers and Smith help England to British Isles men's senior international bowls series win




Spalding Indoor Bowls Club's Matt Whyers and Graham Smith emulated their clubmates in helping England to success at the British Isles men's senior international series in Wales.

Just as Annie Dunham, Ruby Hill and Chelsea Tomlin were part of the England women's team who achieved a similar feat, Whyers and Smith were involved in three days of competition staged at Llanelli Indoor Bowls Club.

Selected as a front end in a rink with Perry Martin and skipped by current world men's singles champion Robert Paxton, Whyers and Smith were joined in Llanelli by clubmate Stephen Harris who was selected to travel as a non-playing reserve.

England's victorious men's team after the British Isles indoor series held at Llanelli Indoor Bowls Club in Wales. Photo supplied.
England's victorious men's team after the British Isles indoor series held at Llanelli Indoor Bowls Club in Wales. Photo supplied.

In the first match of the series, defending champions England faced the hosts Wales who had much to prove in front of their home crowd.

Despite a spirited start where Wales managed to hold the strong England team for a few ends, the title holders soon pulled away and were 65-33 up by 10 ends.

This was extended to 93-45 by 15 ends before England won on five of the six rinks to secure a comfortable 140-87 win.

Chelsea Tomlin, Annie Dunham and Ruby Hill, of Spalding Indoor Bowls Club, were part of the England team who won their third successive British Isles International Series title at Llanelli Indoor Bowls Club in Wales.Photo supplied.
Chelsea Tomlin, Annie Dunham and Ruby Hill, of Spalding Indoor Bowls Club, were part of the England team who won their third successive British Isles International Series title at Llanelli Indoor Bowls Club in Wales.Photo supplied.

Spalding's Whyers and Smith had an impressive 24-11 rink win against one skipped by 2018 Commonwealth Games Pairs gold medallist Daniel Salmon.

The other game of the day saw Scotland beat Ireland 121-106.

England went into the next match as strong favourites against Ireland.

But in a similar fashion to the Wales game, the Irish team managed to stay within touching distance, although England were always in front.

Matt Whyers and Graham Smith.
Matt Whyers and Graham Smith.

Eventually, they managed to break their opponent's resistance at around 15 ends where they extended their lead to 92-67 before completing victory by 124-93.

Whyers and Smith made it two rink wins from two for the weekend with a 21-11 win against Ireland's rink led by Gary McCloy.

In the other match, Scotland comfortably saw off hosts Wales 143-88 to set up a winner-takes-all final match.

Before the series-deciding showdown, Ireland won a close match against Wales 111-104.

In the final match itself, England controlled the early exchanges and by the 10th end, they were 65-49 up.

But Scotland then showed some fighting spirit and by the 17th end, England found themselves narrowly behind by 98-96.

The lead changed hands twice more, but England responded well and finished strongly as they secured a 12-shot win, 123-111.

Whyers and Smith went down 15-20 on their rink against an in-form Scotland rink skipped by five times world men's singles champion, Paul Foster MBE.

For England it was arecord-equalling sixth successive British Isles men's senior international series win, with Whyers and Smith having been part of the same rink for the last six series.

Their record in the series now stands at 15 rink wins from 18 appearances.



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