BOWLS: Smiths make it a family affair

NEIL SMITH and his eldest daughter Lucy have qualified for the latter stages of the National Mixed Pairs Championship at Northampton next month.

Younger daughter Katy is through to the inter-area final of the Ladies National Singles Championship after winning the Area 10 final, but the Smith sisters lost in the area final of the pairs.

In the Area 10 final of the mixed pairs played at Cotswold IBC (Stroud) the father and daughter combination of Neil and Lucy Smith made a flying start and led 12-1 after only seven ends.

But their Malvern Hills opponents, Jean Meek and England U18 international Ryan Atkins hit back to cut the gap to 12-9 at 11.

The Smiths then took control to win the next four ends to take a commanding 22-9 lead after 15 ends, however, they then dropped a single and a five to only lead 22-15 at 17.

But a count of two saw them easily hold on and protect their advantage on the last two ends for a great 24-19 victory and book their place in the last 32 at Northampton on February 12.

This is the first time that 17-year-old Lucy has qualified for the national indoor finals.

Katy Smith, competing in the National Indoor Championships for the first time this season, celebrated her 16th birthday in style this week.

She won the Area 10 national singles title and has qualified for the inter-area final, meaning she is one step away from reaching the national finals and last 16 at Nottingham in late March.

A nip and tuck start to the Ladies Area Singles final saw Katy Smith trail Gill Fry (Gloucester) 7-6 after six ends but then she hit back to move into an 11-9 lead.

Fry rallied and won the next three ends to go 15-11 up but it was to be her last taste of success.

Katy Smith turned up the power with an awesome display to take the next seven ends to win the Area 10 title 21-15 and book her place in the inter-area final against either Gillian Cliff (Bromsgrove) or England junior international Kirsty Richards (City of Birmingham) next month.

However the Smith girls, in their first appearance together, put up a battling display but were beaten 24-12 in the Area 10 ladies national pairs final by Malvern Hills duo Val Pedlingham and England senior and junior international Amy Stanton.

Elsewhere, the Westlecot rink of Val Coles, Jill Webb (sub for Janet Willis), Jenny Vowles and Wendy Anderson were beaten 25-17 in the Area 10 national fours championship final by a quartet from MidGlos skipped by Maryan Pye.

Anderson also suffered defeat in the Area 10 Over 60s pairs final with Sylvia Wells losing 19-14 to MidGlos’ Ann Leach and her partner.

But Anderson will be hoping for better fortunes this weekend when she teams up with Wells and Vowles to play in the Area 10 triples final against Marian Wheatley (Leominster & District) at Cotswold.

Fairford duo Ken Clarke and Martin Hope missed out in their bid to reach the national finals in the men’s Over 60s Pairs.

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