The British Ladies Merit was held in July at Helsby Community Sports Club. ‘All the greens were brown’ but the Welsh ladies were on fire. Our three qualifiers from Wales, Jane Bowler ( Conwy ), Sarah Nicholas ( Gresford Colliery ) and Linda Williams ( Hawksbury ) seemed to find the conditions to their liking in as much as the standard of their performances was to win each one of them a place in the quarter final.
From the first set of blocks, Linda made steady progress with 21-18, 21-17 and 21 -20 to reach this stage. Here she met fellow ‘dragoness’ Sarah Nicholas who joined her here after 21-9, 21-19, and 21-20 wins. They held each other in a close game all the way, but Sarah finally broke free with a 21-19 win to take her place in the semi-final.
In the second part of the draw, Jane Bowler also made steady work of her games 21-12, 21-13, and 21-18 to reach the quarters. In her quarter final match she met Hannah McDonald from Burton& District beating her 21-19.
In the semis, Sarah met young Emily Kernick from Warwick & Worc. Sarah took an instant lead which she held all the way. Once again, Sarah’s coolness under such blistering conditions was to see her win to 21-13. Jane was not so fortunate in her game and lost 21-16 to Claire Russell of NLF.
The final was a treat to watch. How the girls managed to maintain their concentration throughout the day to get to this stage is a testament to their characters. The unbelievably fast pace saw bowls doing incredible things and due to the games taking that much longer to play, the light was starting to go. Sarah got off to an early lead, but Claire was not going to make it easy. She came back several times, and Sarah was forced to dig into her reserves of determination and skill. Eventually, Sarah triumphed 21-17 and took the British Ladies title for the first time. She joins three other Welsh ladies to have won this in the past. Well done.