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Romford’s Lee Chaplin into National Finals - with his Nan!

PUBLISHED: 09:00 28 July 2017

Lee Chaplin of Romford Bowls Club

Lee Chaplin of Romford Bowls Club

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Joyce Chaplin rolls back the years by making it to Leamington

Lee Chaplin (centre) with his county triples finalists teamLee Chaplin (centre) with his county triples finalists team

Romford bowler Lee Chaplin has already booked his place in the National Finals at Leamington in the triples, but for him, his ‘proudest’ moment in the game has been to qualify for the National Family Pairs Final - with his Nan!

Playing with Joyce Chaplin, 77, of the Elm Park club for the first time has been a magnificent experience as they have marched past five all male teams including brothers and fathers and sons to make it to Leamington.

“It was back in February time and I saw the entry list was still open and I wasn’t sure how much I would be playing as my partner was pregnant, but I thought let’s give it a go,” said Lee, who has previously played with his Dad in the competition.

“I wasn’t sure how it would go as my nan is the sort of player who can spray four woods all over the green and then if I miss one, it is all my fault!”

They saw off the likes of county pairs semi-finalists brothers Sam and Jason Roberts from Colchester West End along the way and in the Area Final they came up against the top pairing from Kent, headed by Ken Weyand and his son from Ramsgate.

It was certainly an up and down clash. The Essex duo trailed 7-0, got it back to 7-7, but it looked to be all over at 20-14 with just two ends to go.

“A lot of our family were there watching and they were saying it was looking grim and so was I,” said Lee.

However, it was at that point that the tide turned.

Lee trailed the jack to have a four-shot count and then added another to make it five and reduce the arrears to 20-19.

And on the final end, Joyce played four good woods and when Lee also got in, they had the score they needed to win it 21-20.

“It was the first time we had been in front in the whole match,” smiled Lee. “I am at Leamington in the triples this year, but getting through with my nan has to be my proudest moment in the game.”

Not only that, the Chaplins are already into the last eight in the competition.

“You go to the Nationals in something like the triples and it is almost like starting again, it is last 64 or whatever. But in this we are in the last eight already, which is great.

“My nan has been there before in the pairs for Elm Park, but that was a long, long time ago and I think they only lasted one game, so this is great for her.”

They will have a tough test in the last eight when they get there as they will face John McGuinness and his son.

McGuinness played in the Commonwealth Games and will be a formidable opponent, but who is to say that the 77-year-old Joyce won’t seen him off?

It should be a cracker!

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