County Hall Of Fame
30 March 08.
Jody Frampton, partnered by Babs Morokutti, Essex, win the World Pairs Championships at Herentals, Belgium. Click
here for a report.
Linda Wynn is selected to represent England Ladies against Armagh Ladies. Click here for a report.
Nicky Bartlett selected for the England “A” Team and plays in the British Isles “A” Team Championships held in Llannelli.
Under 18’s National Championships.
In 2008 and 2009 Carol Smith won the Kent heats to qualify for the National stages. Click here to read her thoughts on the experience.
The Kentish Express published the following article on Thursday 6th April 2000.
Richard Stagg of Wye, is only 17 but has just returned from representing England in the World
Short Mat Bowls Championships at the Isle of Man. Teaming up with Ben Lainton from Somerset and Worcester’s David hall the trio were runners up in the overall placing, losing 15 – 17 in the final, to Ireland. Richard returned with a handsome trophy and the prospects of greater things to come. He began to play short mat bowls when he was only five and has been fortunate in having the Wye short mat club where he has been encouraged to play and practice. Playing for Kent two years ago he was spotted as a potential champion and earned his England place after being chosen for the final 20 out of 52 trialists, most of them much older than he was. In the recent championships there were teams from Scotland, Belgium, Wales, Italy, India, Isle of Man and the Irish winners. Richard is now looking forward to the next world championships in two years time, which will be hosted by Ireland.
The short mat game is highly popular across the country where it is a viable alternative as it can be played in small village halls. There is no professional outlet in the game but the keen youngster aims to continue working hard at the game to continue at a high level and practices twice a week with the Wye players.
World Championships. 2006
The following article was published in the Medway Messenger, Malling Edition on 17 March 2006.
BEST BROTHERS CALLED UP BY ENGLAND. Medway short mat bowls ace has been selected to represent England at the World Championships this weekend. And there has been a cause for double celebration for the Best family, with younger brother Michael picked for the England under-18s. Gary, who plays for Burham Short Mat Bowls Club, has played for England twice but the call-up for the World Championships at Potter’s Bar is his biggest achievement to date. The 21 year old, who will team up with Tim Rycraft, Langley SMBC, in the pairs tournament said: “Short mat bowls has been running for 20 years and only a handful of players from Kent have ever been selected for the World Championships. To get selected to compete alongside another Kent player is a real honour and we’ll be doing our best to win the tournament. We’ll be taking on people from Belgium, New Zealand and India but it’s the Irish pair who will be the team to beat.” Meanwhile, Gary’s 13 year old brother Michael is preparing to play for England under 18’s in a friendly on March 26. Gary said: “It’s great that we’ve both got international call-ups. Hopefully we’ll both get some good results.” (Details of the England U18’s game can be viewed by clicking here).
Tim Rycraft and Gary Best represented England in the Pairs competition of the World Championships held at Potters Leisure Resort, Hopton on Sea, Norfolk over the weekend 18/19 March 2006. The Kent pair finished third having beaten a Welsh pair 14 – 11 in the 3rd/4th playoff match. In the group stages teams from Belgium, 11 – 8, India, 13 – 8, Isle of Man, 11 – 4 and Scotland, 21 – 2, were beaten with losses recorded against Ireland, 3 – 11 and Wales, 5 – 13. The Kent pair finished second in the group stage on shots difference to qualify for the 3rd/4thplayoff.
National Championships. 2004
The Kentish Express published the following article on Thursday 22nd April 2004.
Three members of Wye Short Mat Bowls Club were part of a Kent team that produced a superb display to lift the National Fours title. Michelle Fitzgerald joined father and son John and Tim Rycraft plus Maidstone’s Reg Wager to triumph after a 12 hour long competition in the sport’s biggest event, at Kettering. The Kent quartet secured the gold medal with an impressive 14-3 victory over a team from Norfolk, which included two former England internationals. All four team members will now play for England next season. The national competition is open to all 26,000 members of the English Short Mat Bowling Association, with qualifiers determining the 64 teams who go through to the final stages. Entries at Kettering were initially split into 16 groups of four with the top two progressing to the knock-out phase. Games were played over eight ends and the Kent team made a shaky start before overcoming rivals from Derbyshire by four shots. Defeat, to the last bowl of the game, against opponents from Suffolk meant they had to win their final group game, against a team from Hertfordshire, to go through and they obliged, by just three shots.
A team from Hampshire, skipped by a one time Scottish international, provided their first test in the knock-out stages and the game went into an extra end before No2 John Rycraft ditched the jack cleanly to secure a one shot win. Their next opponents, from Somerset, fielded three ex-England players, one of whom was a former national singles champion, but skip Tim Rycraft held his nerve to see his side through after they had been six shots down on the last end. For the quarter final Kent again faced opposition from Somerset, whose line-up consisted entirely of present England players. Kent went into the last end two shots up but as Skip Rycraft bowled his last bowl he had to draw into the head for second bowl, which he did to secure a place in the last four. Awaiting Kent in the semi-final were a team from Worcestershire, made up of three present day and one ex-international. At 8-3 down playing the last end Kent’s bid looked in tatters, but a remarkable turnaround, not often seen at this level, they pulled through helped by a maximum shot.
M Fitzgerald, who has only been playing for two years, T Rycraft and R Wager, are also members of Langley SMBC, while R Wager and T Rycraft, an England player for three years from 1996, both play for the Kent Premier team. J Rycraft is a member of the Kent “A” team. Kent are regarded as the strongest county in the country having won the national championships six times in the past nine years. They were beaten finalists this year, losing to the West Midlands.
Further Kent news.
The Burham SMBC four of Irene Benton, Derek Carpenter, Sonia Watson and Gary Best lost at the quarter-final stage 7 shots – 6.