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BOWLS: Teenager Smith makes nationals for the first time
LUCY SMITH has qualified for the final stages of a ladies national indoor championship event for the first time.
The 18-year-old Westlecot indoor bowler from West Swindon booked her place in the last 16 of the women’s national singles championship at Melton & District in mid-April with an outstanding performance in the section 9/10 inter-area final at MidGlos.
Smith had already claimed the area 10 singles title with an incredible comeback from 20-13 down to win 21-20 against Gill Fry (Gloucester) and followed it up with an impressive 21-18 victory over England senior and junior international Amy Stanton (Welford-on-Avon) last Monday.
“It was a fantastic game and a breakthrough win for Lucy,” said her proud father and coach Neil Smith straight after the match.
“In the past few months we have realised their (Lucy and sister Katy) games are improving, but without sometimes getting what they deserve, then the trip home would be ‘at least you played well’.
“Well, tonight Lucy got exactly what she deserved, she was magnificent from start to finish and was the deserving winner,” he added.
England U25 triallist Smith had her nose in front early leading 3-2 and then 7-3 but although outplaying Stanton she could not pull away.
Stanton managed to claw back to 10-9 down but then Smith notched a three to move 13-9 up.
Smith held three on the next but a lucky break, when firing off a front bowl, enabled Stanton to kill the end and this stroke of fortune seemed to boost Stanton and she won five of the next six ends to lead 18-14.
But, despite the pressure, Smith responded brilliantly, raising her game to pick-up four shots in the next three ends to draw level at 18-18.
Smith then continued to pile the pressure on two-time world U25 champion Stanton, registering three singles to grab a 21-18 win and claim her biggest victory to date in her brief bowls career.
Smith moves forward to the last 16 of the ladies national singles at Melton Mowbray on Friday April 11, where she will face the section 19/20 inter-area champion Rhoda Young (Bounds Green, Middlesex).
Last season, partnering her younger sister Katy, 17, for the first time, the Smith girls lost in the Area 10 final, however, this time around the duo have won the area pairs title and qualified for the inter-area final.
They are due to meet Area nine winners Viv Hall and her partner Joan Parfitt (Welford-on-Avon) at Malvern Hills on Thursday, February 13 – just one step away from reaching Melton & District and the last 16 of the national pairs championship in early April.
This weekend though, Lucy will be putting the pairs final with Katy to the back of her mind as she is in Nottingham with the England U25 side who are taking part in the British Isles Indoor Bowls Council International Junior Series - Lucy is named as first reserve in the 18-strong squad.
In the ladies senior pairs competition, Westlecot’s Ellen Bolland and Janet Willis bid today to reach the final stages (last 16) in the Women’s Over 60 Pairs Championship at Northampton at the end of March.
They won the Area 10 pairs title with a comprehensive 18-5 victory over Ann Leach and Pauline Gunn (MidGlos) to set-up today’s over-60s inter-area pairs final at Banbury against Area nine champions Janet Scott and Di Green (Birmingham).
Westlecot men still have an interest in two national championship and competitions - inter-area final in national triple and over 60 pairs.
The trio of Kevin Embling, Ian Jefferies and Neil Smith booked their place in the inter-area final against a Desborough (Maidenhead) trio skipped by Simon Jones later this month following a 17-7 area final win over Malvern Hills trio of Mark Atkins, Luke Harwood and Ryan Atkins.
The experienced veterans Kevin Embling and Dave Snell have reached the inter-area final in the Over 60s pairs – one step from the final stages.
They booked their place in inter-area final with an easy 26-7 victory last Sunday at Westlecot over Bill Reynolds (sub for Jack Dempsey) and Roger Preece (MidGlos) in the area 10 final. They never looked back after racing into a 17-1 lead after only 11 ends.