National Championships

After a grey and cloudy start, it turned out to be a wonderful August afternoon in Leamington Spa yesterday.

There are now stands around 2.5 sides of the newly laid A green on which Tony & CHris from Ladygate played their Men’s Pairs.  Unfortunately, despite playing pretty well, Andy Knapper & Scott proved too good for them, although they did catch up from 0-10 to lose 12-19.  We’d seen Ray Fortune & (another Scott – there seemed to be many playing) play their first round against a Devon side and they came back from behind to win on the final end, progressing through to the next round where they lost on a measure on the final end.  A good effort by the Middlesex chaps.

On the next rink to Tony & Chris were the new 2021 Singles Champion, Sam Tolchard, and his partner Louis Ridout. The heads were extremely tight with several ends 6 out of the 8 bowls nestling around the jack, but the Devon pair won comfortably according to the score sheet.  They went on to beat Andy & Scott in the next round.  Meanwhile Sam’s sister, Sophie, was playing the Ladies Triples final on the adjacent rink.  In what other sport would you get to see world class sportsmen/women playing right in front of you for the princely sum of £4 for a full day’s play?

Sophie, Harriet & Emma from Kings in Devon scraped into the final on the extra end against Oxon (who beat us in the Walker Cup).  On the next rink to them, Charlotte (Surrey Ladies President), Pat & Zoe were playing Worcs.  It was another semi-final which was neck and neck all the way through.  Even before Charlotte had to bowl her final bowl in the final end, she was in tears at having made the final!  At the presentation (where Devon won the final comfortably), Charlotte just said how amazing when the start of the year we’d all been in lockdown and it wasn’t even certain there would be bowls or competitions of any sort in 2021, that to get through to a final was just an amazing thing to happen.  Sheer exuberance and delight!


Janine from Brentham represent Middlesex in the Ladies Pairs today, the Men’s Pairs hold their semi-finals.  Tomorrow sees the start of the Men’s Triples competition.

If you can spare a day to go and watch, do.  It is a wonderful event.  Food is good quality and inexpensive.  There is an opportunity to stock up on bowls, bowls gear and accessories from Bowlswear Direct; chat to the Coach Bowls team and Disability Bowls England, look at the David Bryant memoribilia stand – wow, wow, wow!  Discuss options about bowling in Cyprus or buy some Bowls England/Aceit clothing.

Dave Pitt and his ‘senior’ boys start their challenge on Friday 27th, Tina C & Isabel M start the two Bowl Singles on Tuesday 31st  and our very own Ann H plays the Women’s Senior Singles starting on Wednesday 1st September.

You will also spot Jacquie E, Andy K, Brian H, maybe Marie, Chris Y and other members of the Middlesex Men’s and Ladies Executives who do an absolutely brilliant job supporting every Middlesex player in each competition regardless of the weather!  Having been lucky enough to play in the Nationals on 3 previous occasions, it is very emotional when your own county shake your hand as you come off the green and congratulate or commiserate with you.  They do a sterling job for the love of bowls, their county and their players.  A wonderful commitment which doesn’t always get the recognition it deserves.

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