Romford bowls duo make national quarter-finals

Jack Butcher and Dan Hughes of Romford BC

Jack Butcher and Dan Hughes of Romford BC - Credit: Archant

Impressive display by Hughes and Butcher at Leamington

Romford's Dan Hughes and Jack Butcher showed they are a match for most junior pairs in the country after a fine performance in the National Finals at Leamington.

They eventually lost in the quarter-finals, going down in a very close game.

But Hughes was delighted with the way the competition went.

"It is always good going to Leamington," said the 20-year-old. "It is a lovely green with good pace, almost like an indoor green, and though the lines are sometimes tough, it is a good place to play bowls.

"The weather was good, there were plenty of spectators and having qualified for the finals you play with a lot of confidence."

The Romford duo had a tough opener against a team from Cambridgeshire, skipped by England man Robbie Barker and one of his brothers Jamie.

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"We didn't start well and were 5-1 behind before we really got going," said Hughes, who helped to bring the scores level at 7-7.

"I think their skip did not have his best game and from then on we were the better team, I think. We picked up a four and a couple of threes and in the end won 18-11."

That earned them a second round tie against a pair from Dorset and it proved to be a one-sided clash.

"They had been at Leamington before, but we hit some great form and we started well and were always on top," added Hughes after they cruised to a 27-3 win two ends early.

"We felt confident going into the quarter-final, but we knew all the teams left were very good."

That proved to be the case as they took on a team from Northamptonshire.

"One of them was another England skip and the other was a national disability champion so it was always going to be tough, but I felt we should have won it, we controlled most of the game," said Hughes. It was certainly a nip and tuck match, but the vital moment came at 13-13 with two ends to go.

"We dropped a three and that was crucial," admitted Hughes.

"It was always going to be difficult to get back against a quality pair and we couldn't quite manage it."

They lost 17-13, but for Hughes it was a good experience.

"I think we played pretty well in Leamington," he said. "Hopefully we can get there again and maybe go even further."