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BOWLS: Smith family set for national service
THE Smith household in West Swindon are celebrating a splendid hat-trick.
Dad Neil, 47, and his two daughters Lucy 18 and Katy 16, have all been selected to take part in 2013/14 England indoor international team trials in December.
Neil, who plays for Wootton Bassett outdoors but Westlecot indoors just like his two daughters, has been chosen for the senior men’s trial at Melton Mowbray on Sunday December 8. He is named at lead in a rink alongside Matthew Orrey (Grantham & District), Ian Bond (Exonia) with Nottingham’s Brett Morley as skip.
Smith senior will be hoping to impress the selectors and break into the England team for the Home International Indoor Championships to be held next March at Stanley IBC (Durham).
Lucy and Katy have been called-up for the first time for a full Ladies Under 25 trial at Nottingham on Saturday, December 14. Their goal will be a place in the England ladies junior side for the Home International Series next February in Nottingham.
Neil Smith’s selection for an England trial is long overdue and certainly well deserved after enjoying a fine 2012/13 indoor season.
A World Singles and Pairs competitor at Potters in recent years, he came close to landing the ‘blue riband’ English national singles title in late March in Nottingham. Smith was beaten in the final 21-16 by England international Mark Dawes (Blackpool Newton Hall) but in reaching the final had taken out several national team players.
Smith also beat World number one Greg Harlow in the Desborough (Maidenhead) Open Singles to land the planetbowls.com tournament £1,000 first prize. He has also qualified for the current season’s World Bowls Tour Scottish Open in Perth in early November.
The two Smith sisters have also been upgrading their CV’s.
Katy, 16, won the ladies Area 10 singles title and only just missed out on a last 16 place in the national finals when losing 21-14 in the inter-area final to Gillian Cliff (Bromsgrove), a former winner of the ladies national singles title.
And she has registered several fine victories on the planetbowls.com indoor mixed circuit.
Elder sister Lucy, 18, reached the area 10 final in the champion of champions competition but then lost to Gloucester’s Gill Fry and together with Katy they reached the ladies Area 10 pairs final but again missed-out to England international Amy Stanton and her partner.
However, she did reach the latter stages of a national championships event with dad Neil in the mixed pairs. They eventually lost in the quarter-finals but it was still a fine achievement to get that far.
The duo of Neil and Katy Smith have been in action indoors at the world qualifying tournaments in Poole.
Both players were knocked out the singles by Steve Roberts, while they combined to reach the final of the World Pairs qualifiers before losing to Leigh Prince and Scott Edwards.
“I just feel gutted for Katy,” said dad Neil. “What a story that would have been if we had qualified as she played so well all weekend.”
Neil returns to action today in the planetbowls.com Grand Prix event at Boston which carries £3750 in prize money and will be screened live for free viewing on their website all day. Smith has been paired with Ipswich’s Lee Rowland in round one which is due to begin at 10.20am.
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