England bowlers face quick greens and Aussies at Bendigo

23rd November 2004

Team England's lawn bowls team go to Australia with high hopes of returning from the Commonwealth Youth Games with medals.

But England team manager Tommy Armstrong says the quick Australian greens will present his young charges with a stiff challenge.

"The greens will be quicker and not as forgiving as they are here, so that will be a challenge, but all our players will have played indoors, where the surfaces are also fairly quick," he said.

"They're the best greens in the world and will take a few days to get used," he added.

The England team includes Jamie Chestney from Fakenham in Norfolk, a rising star in the sport who has already been tipped for great things. He skipped the pair that won the senior English Bowling Association (EBA) National Pairs Championships in August aged just 17.

"Winning the nationals is a major achievement for any bowler, senior or junior," said Armstrong. "I'm quite certain he is the youngest player to do so, and to skip the pair as well is amazing."

Jamie, who has now turned 18, has already forced his way into the England under-25 team and teams-up with 16-year-old Sian Gordon from Whitstable in Kent in the mixed doubles pair at the Bendigo 2004 Commonwealth Youth Games. Sian is a member of the Herne Bay Club.

Two 15-year-olds from Devon have been selected to play in singles competitions in Bendigo. Laura Tucker from Dartington, plays in the  women's singles. Laura is a member of the Totnes Club and has reached the final stages of the Under-25s National Junior Singles twice.

Sam Tolchard from Paignton competes in the men's singles. Sam is from the Kings Club and was a member of the England team that won this year's Junior International Series and also a member of Devon's Middleton Cup winning team.

The format of the lawn bowls event in Bendigo is a round-robin competition, with each of the eight teams playing against each other. Other nations competing are Australia, Botswana, Fiji, Malaysia, New Zealand, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

The Australians are rated as favourites for the competition playing on home turf.

The lawn bowls action gets underway on Wednesday 1st December in Bendigo and runs until Friday 3rd December.

England lawn bowls team for Bendigo 2004

Sam Tolchard  (27.05.89)   Paignton, Devon
Laura Tucker   (29.08.89)        Dartington, Devon

Jamie Chestney (15.11.86)  Fakenham, Norfolk
Sian Gordon     (14.01.88)  Dunstable, Kent

Team England is taking an 86-strong squad of athletes to Bendigo in Australia to compete in eight sports at the second Commonwealth Youth Games, which take place from 30th November to 3rd December.

The Commonwealth Youth Games were devised to give young athletes an opportunity to experience a major multi-sports Games.

England topped the medal table at the Edinburgh 2000 Games with 36 golds, 41 silvers and 18 bronzes. Australia tied with England on golds, but had fewer silvers.