A HEREFORDSHIRE bowler played a key role in leading England Ladies to an inaugural Ladies British Isles Championships.

Kate Williams (Weston under Penyard S.M.B.C) broke new ground in short mat bowls at the weekend as she captained England in the first ever Ladies British Isles Championships at Melton Mowbray Indoor Bowling Centre.

Whilst a mixed-gender sport from local through to international level, the England Ladies short mat bowls team has grown substantially over recent years, aiming to increase the representation of women at the highest levels of the game.

As a result of this growth, the Ladies version of the British Isles Championships was launched, with some of the very best female players from across England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland competing.

As with the “main” short mat British Isles Championships, the format was split into a team competition (four teams of four players, with each country playing each other twice) and also individual titles across each discipline of singles, pairs, triples and fours (with each team playing each other once). Skipping a four in the team competition, Williams also represented England in the singles.

Saturday saw the first four rounds of the team competition, with two strong victories against Scotland as well as a victory against Wales followed up by a narrow loss to a strong Ireland team, putting England into second place overnight.

In the singles, both Williams and the Irish representative won their respective games against Wales and Scotland, leaving the Herefordshire bowler second on shots difference by only two shots at the end of play on Saturday, with a crucial game against Ireland ahead.

Sunday saw an equally fantastic day of bowling. In the team competition, England dispatched Wales to put themselves in a showdown with Ireland for the overall winner’s trophy.

However, before that could take place, all eyes were on the individual competition with Williams taking on Ireland in a must win contest.

Sadly, it was not meant to be on the day as Ireland took an 18-11 victory in a close game that saw both players play some fantastic bowls.

It was a similar story in the final match of the team competition, with England losing overall by only eight shots to the Irish team, finishing second and rounding off a successful weekend both for Kate and the squad as a whole.

The Herefordshire Short Mat Bowling Association congratulated Williams and all of the England Ladies team on a brilliant weekend and a fantastic showcase of short mat bowls.

Short Mat Bowls is an accessible and challenging sport for all ages! To find your local club, visit hsmba.org or email hsmbawebandpress@gmail.com.