Queen Hayley is national bowls champion after stunning display at Leamington
PUBLISHED: 09:30 23 August 2019
Clockhouse star teams up with Jasmine Wilson to lift the junior pairs crown
Clockhouse star bowler Hayley Kenny was crowned a national champion last weekend with a magnificent two days of bowls in Leamington.
The youngster teamed up with Jasmine Wilson from the Radwinter club near Saffron Walden to represent Essex in the junior pairs competition.
"It was great to win," said the 23-year-old from Upminster-based Clockhouse.
"I only met Jasmine a couple of years ago at the Amy Rose event and we decided to have a go at the pairs. We're really good friends now and we will be going out for a celebration drink in October when she turns 18!" she laughed.
Lead Kenny with skip Wilson started their campaign on Saturday afternoon against Hannah Smith and Abbie Ward from Warwickshire and it proved to be a tough one.
The match went down to the wire and in the end it was Wilson who held her nerve to get one on the jack and they went through by a 16-15 margin.
"She is such a good player," said Kenny. "She reads the game so well for one who is still so young, while we were both helped by he dad Sean who was our coach at the championships.
"We are allowed to have a coach in the juniors to confer with, but when we chatted to him, it was just to confirm a decision we had already made."
Later that day, the girls played their second-round match against Rosie Jevons and Megan Hunt from Middlesex and they hit top form.
"We went 9-0 ahead after two ends," said legal secretary Kenny, who works in London.
"You still have to concentrate all the way, though, because anything can happen at this level."
They kept up the momentum and booked a quarter-final place as they got home by 20-11.
The last eight came the following morning when they came up against Buckinghamshire pair Abby Elliott and Megan Higgins.
"I didn't start very well and their skip was hot on the day, so it was a tough match," said Kenny, who found her form later in the game.
They went through by 19-13 in the end to book a semi-final clash with Emma Cooper and Harriet Stevens from the famous Kings Club in Devon.
"To have got to the semi-final was great and I was just thinking we have done really well and if we go out now it would not have mattered," said Kenny.
"I think that took any nerves out of it for us and we were able to play really well in that semi-final."
In a closely-fought game it was all square at 14-14 after 16 of the 18 ends and could have gone either way. But it was the Essex pair who held their nerve to pick up singles on the last two ends and win it 16-14.
That gave them a final against the holders Devon Cooper and Rachel Tremlett from the Baldock club in Hertfordshire.
"We were very much the underdogs for that one," added Kenny.
"There was a good crowd and most thought they were going to win, and I think perhaps they were thinking the same thing. They had certainly won their semi-final very early."
It was a mistake because the Essex girls stormed into a 12-0 lead after just five ends and the Herts duo were always playing catch-up.
In the end the match was conceded after just 13 ends as the lead was 23-5 and Kenny and Wilson were crowned national champions in style.
"It has been a great summer not just for me, but for the whole Clockhouse club," said a delighted Kenny.
"We won the county Top Club and we are in the final of the Albert Crabb, but for me this is the icing on the cake."
Things did not go so well for Kenny and partner Rebecca Smith in the ladies pairs up at Leamington.
They took on a duo from Cornwall in the preliminary round and found themselves dropping an early four count.
The Clockhouse pair came within striking distance and were holding shots on plenty of ends only to see them taken off.
Going into the last end they needed six shots to win it, but could only manage three as they went down 19-16.