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Eight players from Spalding Indoor Bowls Club have been called up to represent England

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Eight players from Spalding Indoor Bowls Club have impressed the England selectors to earn call-ups to represent their country.

For the men’s senior team, Stephen Harris has been called up for the first time and will lead the rink skipped by team captain Greg Harlow.

Graham Smith and Mark Dawes have retained their places as they both edge nearer to 50 caps.

Stephen Harris (left) and Graham Smith.
Stephen Harris (left) and Graham Smith.

They will also play in the same rink, Smith playing number two and Dawes skipping his own rink for the first time.

Dominic McVittie has also been called up to travel as reserve.

An interesting rule change in the series will see mid-match substitutions for the first time therefore McVittie will hopefully get his chance to shine.

The series will be played in Belfast between Thursday and Saturday, March 17 and 19.

The women’s senior team sees Ruby Hill, Chelsea Tomlin and Annie Dunham all retain their places, soon after winning the national triples title only a couple of months ago.

Hill will lead for Michelle Coleman from St Neots while Dunham and Tomlin will each skip a rink of their own.

Dunham has skipped for her country before, having done so at junior level, while Tomlin is skipping for the first time on the senior stage.

The series will also be played in Belfast between Friday and Sunday, March 11 and 13.

Also being played at Belfast between the two respective international series is the British Isles Championships which will see Harris and Smith represent England in the men’s pairs and Hill, Tomlin and Dunham in the ladies triples.

Harris is joined by Jordan Philpott as they both retain their places in the England men’s under 26 team.

They will also play in the same rink, Harris at lead and Philpott skip.

Special mention also has to go out to Philpott as he is handed the honourable roll of captain.

The series will be played at Ffrith, in North Wales, over the weekend of Saturday and Sunday, February 19 and 20.

Hill is also selected to play for the ladies under 26 team at number three to team captain Rachel Tremlett from St Neots.

The series will be played at West Denton over the weekend of Saturday and Sunday, February 12 and 13.

There were mixed emotions for the Spalding teams on Saturday as the men won comfortably to secure a place in the last 16 in the Denny Cup while the ladies crashed out of the Yetton Trophy.

For the ladies in the Yetton Trophy, they came up against a strong Barwell team which included former Commonwealth Games medallist Jamie-Lea Winch.

Barwell proved too strong from the outset as they won 78-40.

Despite losing on three of the four rinks, the home rink skipped by Maisie Belding did secure a good 20-13 rink win which provided a small consolation.

Fortunately, the men fared much better as they beat Leicester 88-49 in the Denny Cup.

This was certainly revenge after Leicester beat Spalding in the first round of the competition in the 2019/20 season.

Spalding stamped their authority from the outset as they raced into a 31-9 lead at five ends.

Leicester did show their fighting qualities as the lead was narrowed to 42-29 by 10 ends but Spalding finished the stronger of the two teams and they led 66-46 at 15 ends before closing out a comfortable 39 shot (88-49) victory.

Making the win even more impressive was winning on all four rinks but the away rink skipped by Tristan Morton, with Brian Martin, Mike Robertson and Ean Morton, returned a top winning rink scorecard of 25-8.

A special mention also for 12-year-old Ollie Jeapes who made his Denny Cup debut.

Next up for Spalding is a local derby against Lincoln in the last 16 on Saturday, January 8.

Rink scores: Home - Kevin Ekins, Steve Hill, Martin Spencer, Jordan Philpott won 25-12; Ollie Jeapes, Martin Simpson, Graham Smith, Mathew Orrey won 18-17; Away - Brian Martin, Mike Robertson, Ean Morton, Tristan Morton won 25-8; Harry Mycock, Nick Wilkie, Stephen Harris, Dominic McVittie won 20-12.

Spalding continued their excellent run in the Egham Trophy with good win against Nottingham on Sunday.

In a high quality encounter where the lead changed on a number of occasions, it was only fitting that the match went the distance.

All four rinks were closely contested and, at five ends, Nottingham took a single shot lead (19-18).

Spalding were ahead by 10 ends, also by a single shot (34-33), but Nottingham actually went in front at 15 and 18 ends, 52-51 and 65-63 respectively.

With the excellent atmosphere at both venues, the crowd were on the edge of their seats and scores were sent through on an end by end basis.

Spalding battled extremely hard and, with the two rinks at Nottingham complete and both rinks at home with one end to play, they were four shots ahead.

Spalding consolidated well to drop a single shot on one rink and pick up two on the other to win the match by five shots (78-73).

Although everyone played their part, certainly in the latter stages of the game, the away rink skipped by Dominic McVittie, with Ruby Hill, Betty Deaton and Ean Morton returned an impressive 22-15 rink win.

The prize is a quarter-final clash against Hartlepool which will be played on Sunday, January 16.

Rink scores: Home - Jean Patterson, Rebecca Simpson, Graham Smith, Mathew Orrey won 17-15; Karen Martin, Chelsea Tomlin, Martin Spencer, Jordan Philpott lost 20-26; Away - Ruby Hill, Betty Deaton, Ean Morton, Dominic McVittie won 22-15; Stephen Harris, Julie Hicks, Annie Dunham and Mark Dawes won 19-17.

Spalding's over 60s women had a comfortable win in the Mason Trophy against Peterborough on Friday.

Although both rinks won by some margin, the home rink skipped by Maisie Belding, with Jean Patterson, Jan Sinclair and Barbara Hurst, returned a 30-11 winning scorecard. The away rink skipped by Julie Hicks also won 19-7.

Next up are Stamford on Friday, January 21.

The friendly section played host to a strong team from the Lincolnshire Vice Presidents on Sunday.

The visiting players were drawn from many areas of Lincolnshire, ranging from Stamford to Scunthorpe, as well as four players who normally bowl at Spalding.

The visitors were slow off the mark but then gained momentum to take the lead from the home team.

The game was so closely contested that at one point the total score was equal with Spalding winning on two rinks, losing on two and drawing on the last two.

However, Spalding persevered and closed the game by winning on three of the six rinks with an aggregate score of 98-91 after a strongly-contested but very enjoyable game.

Spalding's winning rink was made up of Chris Williamson, Gill Haydon, Alan Tokley and skip Lily Drawbridge. Captain for the day was Roger Perkins ably assisted by Edna Perkins.

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