LUCY AND KATY SMITH, members of the Westlecot Indoor Bowls Club, are the new English Bowling Association (EIBA) national pairs champions.

The Smith sisters clinched the national pairs championship title with a 14-12 victory over established England internationals Rebecca Willgress (nee Field) and Katherine Rednall from the Norfolk IBC in Norwich in the final played on Thursday afternoon in Nottingham.

Lucy, 23 and Katy 22, become only the third winners of a national EIBA title from Westlecot since the indoor section opened at the Old Town venue in 1983 although several have gone close in recent years.

The first were the ladies team who won the Mason Trophy, O60s double rinks, in the spring of 2003 and were runners-up the next year.

The second were the trio ofJean Bird, Joyce Lamming and Wendy Anderson who put the disappointment of losing on an extra three years earlier behind them to lift the Over 50 Two Wood Triples in early 2005.

Smith sisters won three games to lift the Area 16 ladies pairs championship and qualify for the inter-area final against Area 3 winners Hornsea (East Yorks) at Nottingham on Tuesday evening.

They duly beat Holly Baxter and Danielle Martinson 23-18 to reach the last 16 in Nottingham and then went on an incredible run that saw them collect several prize scalps on the way to winning the pairs crown.

First to be eliminated comfortable were Clevedon (Somerset) England international duo Laura Holden and Stefanie Branfoot 20-12.

Then followed a tough match and win against Exonia (Devon) pairing of Carrie Southgate and England international Sophie Tolchard 16-14, coming from 9-8 down at 10 ends.

In the semi-finals against Mary Johnson and Olive Wells (Horncastle, Lincs), Katy and Lucy had to come from 9-7 down at 10 ends and 13-11 down at 13 to lead 18-13 at 15 and finally win 20-13 and claim a place in the indoor pairs final for the first time. Last year they went out in the quarter-finals to Swale (Sittingbourne, Kent) in a last end decider.

In this year’s final against Norfolk (Norwich) the Smith sisters led 4-3 after five ends, 9-4 at 10 and 12-4 at 12 but then the nerves clicked in.

They dropped two counts of three to only lead 12-10 after 14 ends. But unlike last year against Swale they regrouped kept matters tight taking singles on the 15th and 18th ends to edge over the finishing line at 18 ends 14-12 and win the ladies pairs title and become Westlecot’s first national championship winners in 36 years of competition.

A few days earlier Katy Smith had contested the last 16 of the ladies two bowl singles. She beat Carol McGrail (Sutton) 21-13 in the last 16 but then went out 19-21 to Danielle Martinson (Hornsea) who was beaten heavily in the semi-final by Devon Cooper 21-3.

And finally the Westlecot ladies triples team of Ginny Nash, Wendy Anderson and Janet Willis, the Area 16 champions lost in Nottingham in the preliminary round (inter-area play-offs) 22-21 to Area 16 champions MidGlos (Brockworth) who lost to Bromsgrove 22-7 in the last 16.