Herefordshire’s contribution to the international stage continues to grow with England Ladies Captain, Kate Williams (Weston under Penyard), certain to make her third year in the role a memorable one following the announcement of the Ladies British Isles Championships to be held at Melton Mowbray in October.
Herefordshire have always had a strong association with the England Ladies Team. Made up of 24 players from across England, the Ladies Team was setup in 2011 by former English Short Mat Bowling Association President George Clarke for a match against the Armagh Zone in Northern Ireland, with three Herefordshire players (Becci & Shirley Cox and Isobel Wardley) taking part. After several years pause, formal trials were then held in 2014 for the following season where Kate Williams, Becci & Shirley Cox (Woolhope) & Charlotte Kite (Lea) were all selected. Becci & Shirley Cox remained in the team to 2017 when Becci was selected to represent the main England team and Shirley decided not to trial. Kate Williams has remained in the team since the re-establishment in 2015- taking up the captaincy in 2020.
Over the course of a season, the team play invitational games against other counties, providing a good test for the squad and promoting the ladies game under Sport England’s “This Woman Can” initiative. These practice games lead to the opportunity to play in international matches. The Ladies Challenge Cup, created in 2019, sees the England team take on Scotland in an annual match at an alternating home or away location. The squad also travel further afield, with a trip to Belgium in 2017 seeing the England team come out on top against their opponents following two days of tough competition.
Looking to the future, it is clear that this is an exciting time for Ladies Short Mat Bowls and Herefordshire are incredibly proud to have one of their own leading the way. The very first Ladies British Isles Competition has been announced to take place in October of this year. In the same format as the “Main” British Isles Championships, the England Ladies will be taking on Ireland, Scotland and Wales across all four individual disciplines as well as an overall team competition. With trials for the team being held in April, there is still an opportunity for other Herefordshire members to put themselves forward to represent the team for the forthcoming Championships.
If any ladies would like to find out more about the team or opportunities for Ladies in bowls in general, please contact Kate Williams and she will be more than happy answer any questions. All at the HSMBA wish Kate and her teammates well in 2023 and look forward to reporting back on the British Isles Championships later this year.