INDOOR BOWLS: Pride for Spalding IBC with player trio on England duty

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GRAHAM Smith, Paul Simpson and Martin Spencer were part of the England squad in the home international series in Swansea.

Smith played number three with Cumbria’s Steve Farish, while Simpson was selected for his debut as number two with Jamie Chestney. Spencer was called into the squad as travelling reserve.

England’s first match was against host Wales, with England running out 137-108 victors. Smith narrowly lost out in a great tussle with Jon Tomlinson whilst Simpson’s rink ran out 30-15 winners against former England international, Rob Chisholm.

On day two, England beat Ireland, with seven of the ends not completed due to time running out.

Simpson won 24-9, with Smith again just missing out on a rink win due to some inspired play from the Irish skip.

This set up a winner-takes-all showdown with Scotland on the final day. There was never more than a few shots in it but Scotland rallied late on to win by one shot, to take the title on shot difference. Smith narrowly lost to four- time world champion Paul Foster while Simpson’s rink went down by 13 shots at the hands of Colin Walker.

It was a disappointing finish for England in what was an excellent championships but Spalding should still be proud to have three players in the international squad.

British Isles Championships: The Spalding ladies who sensationally won the national fours title last year represented England in Swansea.

Charlie Leuty, Lucy Cooke, Rebecca Simpson and Annie Bellamy were drawn against the national champions from the Channel Islands and despite giving an excellent account of themselves, just fell short of victory.

Losing by just four shots was particularly disappointing given the fact that the Channel Islands skip saved a count of six on two occasions to take the spoils. Simpson and Bellamy are part of the England squad in the international series, again in Swansea.

Lincs ladies: Trudy Bates – Spalding beat Skegness to win the southern section league and set up a mouthwatering final against Lincoln.

Spalding won four out of five rinks to win by 108-67 shots and 14-2 on points.

Best rink was skipped by Betty Deaton, with Irene Blackman, Jean Collin and Ida Andrews who won 17-6, followed closely by Gloria Haney’s rink who won 27-9 (with Val Bowker, Lucy Cooke and Barbara Hurst)

Spalding now play Lincoln on April 12 at Horncastle in a winner-takes-all shoot-out.

Lincs League: Spalding men’s A team kept up their pursuit of the league title with a 101-79 win at Sleaford.

Spalding were ten shots down at the halfway stage but some good performances saw them claw this back.

Rink scores were John Needham 20-16, Pete Horsfield 24-11, Rob Aves 21-17, Simon Lilley 21-18 and Calvin Leuty 15-17.

Leuty almost nicked a draw at the death, battling back from 14-3 down. Spalding’s youngsters played well, especially front-end duo Ryan Huskisson and Rhys Hill.

The result sees Spalding go 30 points clear of Boston, who have also played five games, with the sides still to meet twice this season.

Lincs League: Spalding B played Sleaford B at Spalding in what turned out to be a very evenly matched game – until the last few ends when Spalding pulled ahead to win.

Spalding won on three rinks, the best being an 18-9 victory courtesy of Martin Stanley, Gordon Leonard, Roger Perkins and skip Gordon West.

Captain on the day was Ron Walpole.