EIBA finals at Melton: Chris Rodgers and Les Gillett target national pairs title

Melton IBC bowler Chris Rodgers at last year's finals when he represented Leicester EMN-150331-120525002
Melton IBC bowler Chris Rodgers at last year's finals when he represented Leicester EMN-150331-120525002
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Melton IBC double act Chris Rodgers and Les Gillett have some unfinished business where the national finals are concerned.

The pair open their 2015 pairs campaign tomorrow (Friday) at 6pm against the Portsmouth-based Victory club. It will be the first time they have represented Melton at the nationals in six years since returning for this season.

Les has an excellent record at the finals capturing the senior national singles crown in 2001 with former club Chipping Norton, and the pairs title in 2004.

As a pair, Chris and Les have missed out in two tight semi-finals for Melton, most recently in 2006 with an 18-16 defeat to Cumbria which was decided on the last end. They are keen to put the record straight this time out.

Chris said: “It’s been a few years since we qualified for the pairs, but I believe we are going to do well. The ability is there to win it.

“Les wasn’t used to the new carpet at Melton so it was challenging for him and he had to adapt his game. I had to change my bowls to adapt.

“It used to be one of the fastest carpets in he country and was as true as a pool table. It’s still true, but a little bit slower so everyone will have to adjust.”

Les and Chris also made the last 32 nationally in the triples, but a disappointing loss in the inter-area final left them heading into the 2015 finals fighting on just one front.

Loughborough-based Gillett comes into the tournament in good spirit and excellent form after recapturing a coveted place in the world’s top 16 just last month.

Chris said: “The target was always to get there in one final. Playing in more than one is a bonus, but anything more than two is tiring!

“Les has not been in the top 16 for a good few years so to break back into that is a massive boost for him.”

It’s the third year running Melton has hosted the men’s and women’s national finals and they have made their bid to stage the finals for another three years from 2016.

The successful venue will be announced at the closing ceremony where club officials will be hoping to toast their second success of the week.

Chris added: “For me it’s all about the incentive to succeed at my home club. There is nothing like it for me; it holds a lot of history.”