Wiltshire’s Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Graham Shadwell makes his first appearance at world championship level this Saturday when he steps on to the Lockleys green in Adelaide to represent England in the pairs.
Shadwell, whose medal in New Delhi was in the triples, has been handed an exciting new role, leading for Jamie Chestney in the pairs during the first half of the championship – and will line up in the fours once the pairs and triples have been concluded at the event.
Ironically, but quite properly, Shadwell is named by Bowls England as a Wiltshire player, because he plays outdoors at Spencer Moulton – though he crosses the county boundary to play at the Clarrie Dunbar club in the winter months, when he throws his lot in with Somerset.
“Jamie and I got on well in the Atlantic Champions in Cyprus last year – and I am looking forward to teaming up with him again,” said Shadwell before he left for Australia. “He’s brilliant – a total natural!
“It will also be a new experience for me to play second in the fours, but I’m quite happy, because I have confidence in the third and skip, Rob Newman and Stuart Airey,” he added.
Interestingly, for the first time ever, England’s hopes in both the singles competitions will be carried not only by players from the same county, but from the same club, Torquay Kings.
What is more, Chestney, who bids for the men’s singles title, recently moved from Norfolk to be with his girlfriend Natalie Melmore, who won the women’s singles gold medal in New Delhi – and who occupies the women’s singles berth in Adelaide.
Shadwell’s trip Down Under means that Somerset will be without his services for their crunch Liberty Trophy clash with Worcestershire at Bristol on Saturday, when a place in the national quarter-finals will be at stake.
Worcestershire, who have had their problems over recent years, showed some good form against Gloucestershire, who are rebuilding, in the first round of the Liberty Trophy, and should test Somerset, who wanted to play at Taunton Deane.
A national ruling that any proposed venue should not be more than 100 miles from the visitors’ county town meant that Somerset had to look for a substitute venue, and Bristol was deemed to be acceptable.
Steve Wiltshire moves up to skip as cover for Shadwell, while Jason Sparkes, who was unavailable last time out, slots in to replace Wiltshire.
Peter Birmingham will line up with Chris Keating in an all-Bristol quartet.
Those are the only changes from the team that accounted for Wiltshire – and the fact that Somerset field six players from the host club should give them a head start in their bid for a place in the quarter finals.
The announcement that three Somerset players have been chosen to play for England in the women’s junior international series in Bromsgrove follows hot on the heels of the county’s end-of-season presentation evening, disco and buffet at the Taunton Deane club.
Significantly, the three girls who have been selected for the series – Stef Branfield, Kirsty Hembrow and Laura Holden – were mentioned in dispatches at the award ceremony, which was primarily intended as an ‘outdoor’ occasion, and at which Branfield was named as the county’s Young Female Player of the Year.
Shortly after receiving this honour for the second year running, Branfield learnt that she has been given the responsibility of skipping a rink for the under-25 England side for the first time.
“Stef had an outstanding summer,” said Somerset’s junior women’s team manager Mo Monkton. “She enjoyed success for her club, Clevedon, was a member of the successful Amy Rose squad, and skipped for Somerset seniors in the Johns Trophy and Walker Cup.”
At club level, Branfield, who is only 23, won the four-wood, two-wood and handicap singles, and she also won four county titles, and was runner up in a fifth event.
Then, at the national championships, she reached the quarter-finals of the senior triples and under-25 singles, and the semi-finals of the mixed fours. On the outdoor international scene, she cemented her place in the junior team, and made her senior debut in Bangor in Northern Ireland, where, after just one game, she was ‘promoted’ to play third to Amy Gowshall, and had a great series.
Announcing the awards, which were presented by county president Nancy Reid and past president Shirley Nicholls, Monkton said, “Just a year ago, Stef lacked the confidence required to play at such a high level, but she has worked hard to overcome her shy persona.
“She has used this new level of confidence to encourage, support and inspire our younger members well as improve her own game, and this, together with her personal contribution to bowls in Somerset, has earned her this award.”
Monkton also paid special tribute to Branfield’s Clevedon club-mate Laura Holden, who made her junior international debut at Llanelli, Kirsty Hembrow, from Taunton Deane, Yeovil’s Kayley Manns, and Rebecca McMillan, from the Clarence club, Weston-super-Mare.
“Standards have certainly risen over the past year,” she added. “Some of our younger members are making their mark – and I should make special mention of Shannon Crouch, who is only 12, but who helped Ilminster win the Southey Trophy.”
At Bromsgrove on February 9 and 10, Branfield at skip will have Hembrow at her side as her number three, while Holden has been asked to play lead on another rink.
Former Somerset star Amy Stanton, who recently won the world junior title for the third year running, has also been named at skip.
Grant Aldridge, who was installed as Somerset’s Young Male Player of the Year, may not have hit the dizzy heights of the county’s girls – but he is a promising player who was picked out by team manager Don Fowkes for ‘off-green’ as well as ‘on-green’ reasons.
“Grant showed his commitment to the county by making himself available for every game, whether playing or reserve,” Fowkes says.
“He played in any position I asked him to without complaining, his attitude on the green was always superb, and he encouraged everyone around him with a permanent smile on his face.”
He added: “He’s also a very good young player, who, with Dale Taylor, has started a social networking page on Facebook, which creates a good team spirit, and makes it so much easier for me to communicate with the players.”
Aldridge, who is 19, started his bowls career with the Clarence club, but switched this summer to the Weston St Andrew’s club, who play on the Bournville estate.
England teams for World Outdoor Championships in Adelaide (Nov 23 to Dec 9) – Men: Stuart Airey (Cumbria), Mark Bantock (Berks), Jamie Chestney (Devon), Rob Newman (Berks), Graham Shadwell (Wilts). Women: Ellen Falkner (Cambs), Sian Gordon (Bucks), Natalie Melmore (Devon), Wendy King (Kent), Jamie-Lea Winch (Warks).
England team for women’s under-25 indoor international series at Bromsgrove, February 9-10 – Rink 1: Z Eagles (York), Chelsea Tomlin (Boston). Sophie Tolchard (Torquay United), Lorraine Kuhler (Adur). Rink 2: Laura Holden (Clevedon), Louise Catchpole (Norfolk BC), Rebecca Field (Norfolk BC), A Bellamy (Spalding). Rink 3: * Katherine Rednall (Ipswich), Jody Clinch (Swale), Kirsty Hembrow (Taunton Deane), Stef Branfield (Clevedon). Rink 4: * Cassidy Lenton (Torquay United), * Paige Dennis (Swale), Lauren Copeland (Hartlepool), Amy Stanton (Malvern Hills). Reserves: Rebecca Carter (Norfolk BC), Rebecca Wigfield (Desborough, Northants). Team manager: M Monkton (Yeovil).
EIBA men’s inter-county championship (Liberty Trophy) – second round – Somerset v Worcestershire at Bristol – November 24, Somerset team, Rink 1: R Billington, B Smith (both Taunton Deane), M Denslow (Ilminster), A Colebrooke (Clarrie Dunbar). Rink 2: M Woods (Clevedon), M Hamilton (Ilminster), A Rendell (Watchet), R Francis (Clarrie Dunbar). Rink 3: R Williams (Street), S Hooper (Watchet), J Sparkes (Bristol), S Wiltshire (Clarrie Dunbar). Rink 4: A Poolman, S Smith, P Birmingham, C Keating (all Bristol). Rink 5: C Doughty, K Bailey (both Clarrie Dunbar), N Pearce (Clevedon), T Perkins (Clarrie Dunbar). Rink 6: P Denslow (Donyatt), S Barnard, J Amery (both Taunton), P Bryant (Bristol). Squad members: J Groves (Watchet), S Withers (Clevedon), G Shadwell (Clarrie Dunbar).
National women’s inter-county championship (Atherley Trophy) – First round (at Taunton Deane):Devon bt Somerset 141-102 – Rink scores (Devon skips first): C Binmore 21, N Edwards 16; B Bellamy 23, J Murrell 11; H Avent 30, J Price 16; A Hodsoll 26, J Young 24; S Evans 24, K Hembrow 16; V Lander 17, M Dyer 19.
EIBA men’s inter-club championship (Denny Cup) – Third round: Wymondham Dell bt Lakeside 89-80; Norfolk bt Pinewood Park 99-63; Acle w/o, Sole Bay scr; Diss bt Browston Hall 88-69; Falcon bt Clacton 78-65; Ipswich bt Colchester 85-59; Tye Green bt Essex County 86-65; Barking bt Ilford 84-54; Lynnsport bt Ross Peers 76-73; City of Ely bt Pentney 100-51; Huntingdon bt Risbygate 88-74; St Neots bt Cambridge Chesterton 97-73; Bromsgrove bt Leominster 93-63; Avon Valley bt Birmingham 90-52; Wellingborough bt Desborough (N) 64-61; Kingsthorpe bt Northampton 84-60; Stanley bt Sunderland 91-64; Hartlepool bt Redcar 116-45; York bt Featherstone 94-66; Lincoln bt Skegness 87-62; Spalding bt Stamford 100-42; Nottingham bt Erewash 81-60; Desborough (M) bt Oxford City & County 96-49; Riverain bt Herts 79-68; Clarrie Dunbar bt Bristol 85-69; Cotswold bt Malvern Hills 87-51; Taunton bt Donyatt 81-71; Moonfleet 2000 bt Yeovil 80-76; Torquay United bt Mid Devon 116-37; Plymouth bt Newquay 82-79; Picketts Lock bt Mansfield 81-64; King George Field bt Croydon 76-74; Wey Valley bt Grattons 84-75; White Oak bt Angel (Tonbridge) 95-77; Eastbourne bt Falaise 74-73; Adur bt Victory 95-56.
Warner Leisure Hotels Wessex League – West Region: Plymouth bt Torbay 98-74 (14-2).
North Region: Thornbury bt MidGlos B 104-63 (15-1); Malvern bt Cotswold 84-62 (14-2); MidGlos bt Gloucester 78-64 (13-3); Cotswold B bt Fairford 116-49 (15-1).
Midland Region: Solihull bt Daventry 94-65 (15-1); East Region: West Berks bt Oxford City & County 85-62 (14-2); Carterton bt Oxford & District 86-65 (16-0); Banbury bt Chipping Norton 99-70 (16-0).
Coastal Region: Moonfleet bt Bournemouth 95-67 (14-2); Dolphin Blues bt Five Rivers 85-74 (13-3); Dolphin bt Bournemouth Royals 98-62 (16-0); Dorchester bt East Dorset 106-57 (14-2); Bridport bt Moonfleet B 84-78 (14-2).
Central Region: Bristol bt Clarrie Dunbar 77-73 (12-4); North Wilts bt Purnell 104-75 (16-0); Nailsea bt Christie Miller 93-83 (12-4).