EIBA national finals at Melton: Home pair Rodgers and Gillett through to quarter-finals

Melton IBC team-mates Chris Rodgers (left) and Les Gillett EMN-180328-145221002
Melton IBC team-mates Chris Rodgers (left) and Les Gillett EMN-180328-145221002
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Melton Indoor Bowls Club still had some home interest as the EIBA National Indoor Championships approached the end of its first week in residence at the Leicester Road club.

Les Gillett and Chris Rodgers have plenty of experience on this stage and used it to ease through the last 16 of the men’s pairs on Wednesday morning.

Opening their campaign against the Grattons duo Andrew Harding and Simon Pettingel, the Melton bowlers were up early, 5-2 after five ends.

They then tightened their grip on the match by forging a commanding 13-lead after 10, and extended it slightly to a nine-shot lead after 15 ends.

Harding and Pettingel pulled a shot back on the next end, but a Melton four on the 17th persuaded them to call it quits at 23-11.

Melton were due to take on the City of Ely pair of Rob and Ed Elmore last night for a place in Thursday morning’s semi-finals.

n The nine-day marathon opened at Melton on Friday with a new discipline; the two-wood singles.

Graham Smith, who helped England retain the British men’s team title in Paisley less than a week before, became the first men’s winner when he defeated World Outdoor Champion of Champions, Tom Bishop, 21-16, in a high-quality final.

Teenager Nicole Rogers, from the Loddon Vale club, in Basingstoke, won the women’s event, accounting for England internationals Amy Walters, Janice Gower and Bex Field, in the final, on her way to the title.

n The men’s under 25s inter-county double rink final, on Sunday, featured five-time winners Devon and Yorkshire.

And the White Rose county dashed Devon’s hopes of an unprecedented hat-trick to clinch their first title with a 42-39 triumph.

n Sunday also saw the climax of the fours competitions in the opening discipline of the main draw.

The quartet of Imogen Jenner, Paige Dennis, Sandy Hazell, Wendy King gave Kent club Swale their third ladies’ fours title in five years.

Having seen off Leicestershire hopes in the semi-finals by beating Barwell, Swale then faced Suffolk champions Beccles in the finale.

Swale led 14-9 after 13 ends before stringing together a 1-2-3 sequence to lead 20-9, and persuade the Suffolk team to throw in the towel with two ends still to play.

In the men’s fours, the newly-crowned British Isles fours champions Kingsthorpe swept into the final as they swept aside a Blackpool Newton Hall quartet skipped by new world champion Mark Dawes 20-3.

The quartet of Andy Manton, Connor Cinato, Neil McKee and Jamie Walker then forged ahead, building an 8-5 over Spalding at the halfway point before the Lincolnshire team opted for shorter jacks.

The move paid off as Spalding, with new national two-bowl singles champion Graham Smith on board, scored nine shots while restricting Kingsthorpe to two in the second half to win a high-quality match 14-10.

n Two dour finals on Tuesday produced wins for Val Phillippe, Maureen Willard and Lorraine Kuhler (Adur), in the women’s triples and Huntingdon’s Simon Leader, Lewis Baker and Nick Brett in the men’s.

The win extended Brett’s staggering tally of national honours as he notched his third win in the triples, adding to three titles in the fours, and five in the pairs.

In doing so he helped dash the home hopes of Barwell’s Bill Hobart, Chris Moore and Joe Dawson.

The Leicestershire trio had led Huntingdon for the first 13 ends, but fell behind for the first time on the 15th, and edged home by a single shot, 14-13, as World Bowls Tour player Brett showed his class under pressure.

A young trio from Torquay United - Carrie Southgate (25), Cassidy Lenton and Harriet Stevens (both 23) had the better of the early exchanges in the ladies’ final.

But Kuhler, broke her bowling arm a year ago, and can still not straighten it, kept her side in the game with some magical escape shots.

Torquay led 11-10 after 12 ends, but a 1-2-3 sequence gave Adur a 16-11 lead with three ends left, and the Sussex trio pressed home 17-13.