A game for old men? Not a chance as young Hayley stars in county singles
PUBLISHED: 12:30 15 June 2018
Kenny battles to semi-final and still has chance of a place at Leamington
Bowls is supposed to be a game for old men, but in the county competitions this year, the youngsters are throwing that back in our faces, writes Dave Evans.
The women’s county semi-finals saw a 16-year-old make the final and our own Hayley Kenny bow out in the last four after an excellent day.
The Clockhouse bowler, who is still only 22, won her quarter-final on the neutral green at Chelmsford by overcoming Chris Murty of Brightlingsea by 21-10 after a gruelling match.
That put her into the last four where she took on the experienced Elaine Score from Springhouse.
And at 16-11, the game seemed to be going Hayley’s way.
“You can’t relax,” she said. “At no point did I think that I have got this in the bag. You have to make sure you don’t get too comfortable and just keep going.”
Score forced her way back into it to win five ends on the trot and lead 19-16, but there was some high quality bowls from both players.
“One minute it was her, then it was me and then it was her again, you just couldn’t get comfortable out there,” said Hayley, who lives in Romford.
In the end, Score got over the line by 21-17, but it was a great run for the youngster.
“I wasn’t bowling as much as I would have liked because of college and work, so this is my first year back and I have had a good run,” said the elegant, smooth bowler.
“My goal was to win both games and get to the final so that I could get my county badge as I lost all my points.
“Obviously I am a bit gutted to lose, but I still played really well and good luck to Elaine.
“I am happy with my performance and I don’t mind losing that way.”
In the other semi-final, schoolgirl Jazmine Wilson from the Radwinter club eased past Donna Law from Silver End 21-9 to make the final.
“It would have been great to play Jaz in the final,” said Hayley. “I first met her through the Amy Rose competition for under-25s and she reminds me of me when I was younger.”
With good reason. Hayley has been playing since she was 11 with Wanstead Central and then Ilford, before joining Upminster club Clockhouse. It is proving to be a great move.
“I had to change clubs because there were not enough women bowlers at Ilford,” she said.
“There are more women at Clockhouse and it keeps me on my toes. I was really nervous and not sure where to go, but it was mentioned that I should try Clockhouse, because it is near to me in Romford. It was a really good move.”
Hayley may have lost in the last four, but she still has a chance to make the nationals at Leamington if she can win her third-place play-off this weekend.
A win over Law would book her place.
So what about this game for old men?
Hayley smiles, adding: “It’s not a game for old people!
“It is a game you have to have patience for and it might not be as physical as other sports, but it is a good game to enjoy, surprisingly tactical and it can be tiring.
“For me the adrenalin always keeps me going, that and topping up with Lucozade and trying to eat something between the games.”
Hayley is back on the bowls scene and it is like she has never been away.