BOWLS: History girl Smith makes England debut
LUCY SMITH has become the first woman from the Westlecot Indoor Club to gain international honours.
The Old Town club introduced indoor bowls at Westlecot in 1983 but, despite winning two ladies indoor national titles, their 31-year England women’s international drought was only ended last Sunday.
West Swindon’s Smith was originally only named as first reserve for the England Ladies Under 25 side to play in the British Isles Women’s Indoor Bowls Council International Series in Nottingham last weekend.
However, after day one Smith got the call-up from the team manager and made her debut on Sunday morning in the match against Scotland.
Smith, 18, came in as number two in the rink skipped by Stef Branfield (Clevedon) and it was an 18-15 winning debut for the starlet, as she helped her rink to come roaring back from 7-2 and 12-4 down at five and 10 ends to cut the gap to only 13-12 at 15.
They drew level at 14-all on the 17th end and were 15-15 after 19 but then went ahead for the first time, 17-15, on the 20th and scored a single on the last to a grab an 18-15 success and ensure that England beat Scotland 6-2 to retain the Home International Series.
“We couldn’t believe it when Lucy rang us at our hotel from the team hotel at about 10 o’clock on Saturday night to say she was playing in the morning,” said her father and coach Neil Smith.
“Lucy was delighted and very pleased to be playing in the side. She was obviously nervous to start with and took a while to settle but didn’t play too bad at all.
“She had a superb wood on the 20th end of her match, a side-toucher, which earned a great cheer from the crowd and it helped her rink to go in front for the first time and win their vital match against Scotland.
“It has been an incredible a few weeks for Lucy winning the Area 10 singles final, then the inter-area national singles final, playing for England Under 25s and now with her sister Katy reaching the national pairs finals.”
It certainly has been a tremendous 11 days in February to remember for teenager Lucy Smith.
She began it on February 3 by beating three-time World Indoor Bowls Council Under 25 champion Amy Stanton 21-18 at MidGlos in the inter-area final of the ladies national singles to reach the final stages at Melton & District on April 11-12.
Then, last Sunday, Lucy made her international debut for England u25s in Nottingham and on Thursday evening she teamed up with her younger sister Katy, 17, to win the inter-area final in the national pairs with a comfortable 22-10 victory at Malvern Hills over Viv Hall and Joan Parfitt (Welford-on-Avon).
Neil Smith bids next Friday (Feb 21) at Oxford City and County to make it a Smith family treble at Melton Mowbray.
He has reached the inter-area final in the national triples championships with Kevin Embling and Ian Jefferies and is due to play Area 15 winners Simon Jones (Desborough, Maidenhead) and his two colleagues with the victors moving forward to the last 16 at Melton on April 9-10.
Ladies U25 International Series at Nottingham Day One (Saturday, February 8) England v Wales: Amy Stanton (E) drew with Amy Williams (W) 16-16; Stefanie Branfield (E) beat Jess Sims (W) 32-9.
England v Scotland: Rebecca Field (E) beat Lisa Barrett (S) 24-11; Lorraine Kuhler (E) lost to Stacey Laidlow (S) 12-24.
Wales v Scotland: Hanna Clarke (W) beat Mandy O’Donnell (S) 19-14; Rebecca Shore (W) lost to Sarah Gowans (S) 27-28.
Day Two (Sunday, February 9) England v Wales: Rebecca Field (E) beat Hanna Clarke (W) 24-15; Sophie Tolchard (E) lost to Rebecca Shore 12-22.
England v Scotland: Amy Stanton (E) beat Mandy O’Donnell (S) 32-10; Rink 3: Rebecca Carter, Lucy Smith, Kirsty Hembrow & Stefanie Branfield (E) beat Sarah Gowans (S) 18-15.
Wales v Scotland: Amy Williams (W) lost to Lisa Barrett (S) 15-22. Jess Sims (W) lost to Stacey Laidlaw (S) 5-43.
Scores: England beat Wales 5pts-3pts (84-62). England beat Scotland 6pts-2 (86-60). Scotland beat Wales 6pts-2 (107-66).
Final positions: 1, England 11pts (170-122); 2, Scotland 8pts (167-152); 3, Wales 5pts (128-191).
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