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Stamford bowler Stephen Harris earns first full England cap

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Stephen Harris has been selected for his first full England cap and will make his debut for his country in Belfast in March at the British Isles International series.

The selection of the 24-year-old EIBA national pairs champion from Stamford at such a young age and his rise to the top came as a shock to many.

But not to those in the know within the international community who have watched his progress through the ranks of the Stamford and Spalding indoor clubs, to junior and Under 26 international level, until he put on an outstanding performance in the full England trials at Northampton.

Stephen Harris (53766339)
Stephen Harris (53766339)

Harris said:"I did well in the first half of the trials in my favourite lead position.

"Greg Harlow has apparently been looking for a suitable lead for his England rink and, when I switched to his rink, I maintained my form."

Harris, who works in a print business in Bourne, will lead for England captain Harlow, with Martin Puckett (Dorchester) at number two and veteran Les Gillett (Melton) at number three.

Harris' clubmates at Spalding - Graham Smith and world indoor singles champion Mark Dawes - are also in the team, together with Matt Whyers (Boston).

Harris will also lead for Spalding club-mate Jordan Philpott in the England side that contests the Under 26 Series at Ffrith IBC in Wales from February 19-20.

Spalding IBC trio Ruby Hill, Chelsea Tomlin and Annie Dunham will represent England in the women's international series from March 11-13.

In a thrilling finish to their EIBA Over 60 Double Rink contest against Spalding on Tuesday, Stamford A prevailed by just two shots, losing their home tie by one shot on the last end but hanging on in the away leg for a 22-19 victory.

The aggregate score determined which team reached the last 32 in the country with rinks of four players competing home and away simultaneously over 18 ends.

The turning point came at Spalding where the Stamford rink of Richard Allam, Mick Linnell, Tony Scarr and skip Roger Martin picked up six shots to lead 21-15 with three ends to play after trailing early on.

Meanwhile Spalding's rink at Stamford wrested the initiative back in their favour with a four count on the 16th end to lead 14-11 only for Stamford, for whom lead and number two Tony Barwell and Malcolm Cullingworth were outstanding, to hit back with three shots of their own to tie the scores with one end to play.

They dropped a shot on the last end but the news from Spalding was sufficient to avoid the play of an extra deciding end.

Stamford A will now play Melton on January 11. They beat Leicester 46-23.

Result: EIBA Over 60s Double rink: Stamford A 36 Spalding 34 (Stamford names first) Home - Tony Barwell, Malcolm Cullingworth, Alan Barnes, Bob Warters lost to Derek Overton, Abbs Belding, Graham Hicks, Graham Wright 14-15; Richard Allam, Mick Linnell, Tony Scarr, Roger Martin beat Tony Westland, Mick Dolton, Terry Windsor, Dave Nunney 22-19.

Tony Barwell progressed to next round of the national Over 60s singles, beating Stamford colleague Neil Crees 21-8. He plays either John Pearson or Martyn Dolby.

Stamford's women bowlers will face Nottingham in the last 16 of the Yetton Plate - a national inter-club competition for those beaten in the first round of the Yetton Trophy.

They comfortably beat Melton by 37 shots while Nottingham accounted for Scunthorpe 89-60.

The two clubs will meet on January 8 in the home and away format.

The writing was on the wall for Melton when Christine Ford's Stamford away rink picked up a four and a seven count in the first two ends and went on to add a further 16 shots from the 11th end to eventually win 38-13, while on the adjoining rink Rose March's quartet strolled to a 16-shot win.

At Stamford, meanwhile, Sue Lemon's Melton rink rallied from 7-14 to win by five, while Carol Warters' four started badly but eventually prevailed by one shot, with the overall result already secured.

Result: EIBA Yetton Plate: Melton 60 Stamford 97. Stamford names only: Home - M Andrews, J Benns, M Broadbelt, S Suffling lost 21-26; V Du'Kett, P Birch, P Jones, C Warters won 16-15; away - J Brennan, E Wallace, S Henshaw, C Ford; J Lonslow, M King, M Holroyd, R March won 22-6.

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