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Spalding Indoor Bowls Club have been crowned National Mixed Top Club champions




Spalding Indoor Bowls Club have joined an elite group after winning a national accolade for a second time.

They were crowned National Mixed Top Club champions over the weekend to become only the third club in history to win the title on more than one occasion having won it for the first time in 2015.

The format of the competition consists of men's and ladies singles, mixed pairs, mixed triples and mixed fours.

The singles are worth two points each while the pairs, triples and fours are all worth four points each.

The final stages were held at Nottingham Indoor Bowls Club where they are actually completing the 2019/20 championships before the Covid-19 pandemic hit to put a hold on them.

Before Covid-19, Spalding played a series of qualifying rounds to set up a semi-final clash with the Egham club from Surrey.

The first points on the board were by Spalding's Chelsea Tomlin in the ladies singles as she won 21-12. They soon added the men's singles when Stephen Harris won comfortably 21-4.

With four points on the board, this meant that Spalding needed only one win from the pairs, triples and fours to take the overall aggregate and secure their place in the final which is exactly what happened.

Ruby Hill and Jordan Philpott found their opposition in top form in the pairs while Jean Patterson, Lauren Finbow, Graham Smith and Mathew Orrey lost in the fours with the last bowl of the game.

With the aggregate safe after two comfortable wins in the singles, this meant that the triples of Andy Dunham, Annie Dunham and Martin Spencer had to win which they did 21-17. The match score was actually 8-8, however, Spalding won 87-77 on aggregate.

St Neots beat Exonia by an even closer margin (91-87 on aggregate) to complete the final line up for the following day.

There was an array of junior and senior internationals on show and the final was of the expected highest quality.

In the final, the men's singles was actually played first and Harris got Spalding off to the best possible start with another comfortable win, this time by 21-13.

With the match close overall and the pairs, triples and fours only halfway through their respective matches, the ladies singles was always going to be crucial for both teams.

Tomlin fell behind early on but strung together some excellent ends to lead 19-18. With the crowd on the edge of their seats, Tomlin held her nerve to collect the final two shots, win her match 21-18 and effectively put one hand on the trophy.

The equation was the same as the semi-final but the Spalding players and supporters could soon relax when the pairs and fours secured their discipline wins and the championship for 2019/20.

The Spalding triples were actually 16-11 behind with three ends to play. however, with the match out of St Neots' reach, the concession was made.

The overall match score was 12-4 to Spalding and they were also 92-70 up if aggregate was needed.

Rink Scores:

Semi-Final: Ladies Singles: Chelsea Tomlin won 21-12; Men's Singles: Stephen Harris won 21-4; Mixed Pairs: Ruby Hill and Jordan Philpott lost 8-27; Mixed Triples: Andy Dunham, Annie Dunham and Martin Spencer won 21-17; Mixed Fours: Jean Patterson, Lauren Finbow, Graham Smith and Mathew Orrey lost 16-17.

Final: Ladies Singles: Chelsea Tomlin won 21-18, Men's Singles: Stephen Harris won 21-13, Mixed Pairs: Ruby Hill and Jordan Philpott won 18-8, Mixed Triples: Andy Dunham, Annie Dunham and Martin Spencer lost 11-16; Mixed Fours: Jean Patterson, Lauren Finbow, Graham Smith and Mathew Orrey won 21-15.

Spalding's women bowlers were part of the Lincolnshire side that won the Atherley Trophy.
Spalding's women bowlers were part of the Lincolnshire side that won the Atherley Trophy.

There was no rest for some of Spalding's women as they represented Lincolnshire in the final of the Atherley Trophy against Sussex only an hour after the Top Club final.

Spalding had seven representatives in the team, being Ruby Hill, Chelsea Tomlin, Judy Jackson, Maisie Belding, Annie Dunham, Lauren Finbow and Betty Deaton.

As with the Top Club event, this was a competition which should have been completed in 2020. however, Covid-19 again put it on hold.

Lincolnshire were always going to be favourites in the final having won the competition no fewer than eight times. There was certainly no surprise as the county won the title for the ninth time.

Lincolnshire stamped their authority from the outset and soon found themselves 20 shots in front. This was slowly extended throughout the match as Lincolnshire won by 40 shots, 129-89.

Spalding's internationals Ruby Hill and Chelsea Tomlin played as a back end with Gloria Davies from Sleaford and Louise Harris from Stamford as they secured the top winning rink by a margin of 32-9.

The win was made even more impressive as the county did not lose a rink, winning four and drawing two in the final.

Rink Scores: (Spalding unless otherwise stated) - Gloria Davies (Sleaford), Louise Harris (Stamford), Ruby Hill, Chelsea Tomlin won 32-9; Sheila Plaskitt (Lincoln), Jayne Taplin (Horncastle), Jean Morris, Jill Edson (both Lincoln) won 18-16; Judy Jackson, Maisie Belding, Di Wilson-Rogers (Lincoln), Annie Dunham drew 20-20; Mary Johnson (Horncastle), Sheila Pratt (Sleaford), Lesley Holmes, Lin Mounain (both Lincoln) drew 16-16; Lauren Finbow, Jenna Earl (Lincoln), Sue Hoyles (Boston), Betty Deaton won 21-12; Molly Feetham (Dunholme), Helen Holroyd (Stamford), Rhoda Wing (Sleaford), Katie Bailey (Stamford) won 22-16

Spalding Indoor Bowls Club played their first friendly of the season where their opposition were the worthy Lincolnshire Vice-Presidents Association.

The game was played at Spalding and, as a number of bowlers belong to both Spalding and the VPs, a certain amount of mixed loyalty jostling took place, all done in good humour.

The game was played in triples format using all rinks filled to capacity and was played to a high standard.

Even though the VPs are a strong side, they were no competition to Spalding on the day with the home team securing a comfortable 119-88 victory, winning on four of the six rinks.

Spalding had one rink which produced an excellent win, going a long way towards the final score, this being the rink of Doris Rawding, Jan Sinclair and Mick Jennings. Captain for the day was Roger Perkins.

They then played an away friendly fixture at Sleaford on Sunday and again came away victorious.

The game was played in true spirit of friendship and the relief to be able to enjoy the game after such a long period of isolation.

The home team slipped ahead for the early periods of the match but Spalding chipped away at the lead until finally they got their nose in front and continued to push until closing out a relatively comfortable 110-95 win.

Spalding won on five of the six rinks with one outstanding winning rink, again skipped by Mick Jennings, with Jan Sinclair and Abs Belding.

Captain for the day was Roger Perkins and the next game is away at Grantham on Saturday.

Spalding Indoor Bowls Club also got their men's county league season off to the perfect start on Saturday by winning on three of the four rinks to secure a comfortable victory at home to Grantham.

The overall match result was 91-67 and 12-2 on points.

After joining from Stamford and playing in his first game for the club, outdoor international, Tristan Morton skipped his rink of Mike Robertson, James Teesdale and Ean Morton to a top winning rink score of 31-12.

Dominic McVittie and Kevin Ekins also skipped their rinks to wins while Graham Hicks and his rink found their opposition in top form to narrowly lose.



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