Staplecross player helps England to tournament glory

Emma Cooper in action for the England under-25 women's bowls team
Emma Cooper in action for the England under-25 women's bowls team
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A member of Staplecross Bowls Club was victorious for England at a home internationals competition last weekend.

Emma Cooper was part of the England team which triumphed at the BIWBC Under-25 International Series in Bridgend, Wales.

Cooper played two alongside Kirsty Richards (Warwickshire) at lead, current world indoor mixed pairs champion Katherine Rednall (Suffolk) at three and Sussex team-mate Lorraine Kuhler at skip in the opening match against Scotland. The team gelled quickly to record an 18-12 victory.

The overall result could have gone either way with the lead changing hands frequently, but the English girls worked hard over the last few ends to claim an 85-67 victory over Scotland.

The second game against Wales took place in front of a large and enthusiastic Welsh home crowd. The game was well-fought and tight throughout, and the score was all-square with two ends left to play.

With two of the English rinks having already completed their matches, the other remaining English rink dropped a count of five on their final end, which left Cooper’s rink to try and recover the deficit with only one end to play.

They were able to pick up a score of two to secure a 26-18 victory over senior international Jess Sims and her rink, but this still left the English team with a three-shot loss overall.

Going into the second day, Wales were in the lead and in a strong position to claim the overall title, although England and Scotland were both still fighting for top spot.

Laura Holden (Somerset) was brought in to skip Cooper’s rink with Kuhler skipping Holden’s previous rink and this new set-up, under the guidance of Holden, secured a 31-14 win. Knowing that the overall result could be decided on shot difference, the whole England team dug deep throughout the game to claim a decisive 132-50 victory over Ireland.

Scotland recorded a 20-shot victory over Wales, which meant that England were crowned overall champions with four points and a +97 shot difference, Scotland claimed second place with four points and +56 shots, and Wales were left in third place with four points and +3 shots.

As the current English under-25 pairs champions, Cooper and Kuhler also competed in the British Isles Junior Championships on Sunday afternoon.

They faced Ireland in one of the semi-final ties, while Scotland took on Wales in the other. After being behind for much of the game, Cooper and Kuhler fought hard and pulled back to be one shot ahead going into the 18th and final end.

They dropped a single shot to set up an exciting extra end, where Kuhler played a phenomenal last bowl to secure their place in the final against Wales.

The final was reduced from 18 ends to 10 following a rain delay. After leading for much of the way, Cooper and Kuhler lost by a single shot on the last end, and had to settle for the runners-up position for the third time in four years.

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