By Andrew Atkinson
Bowls England has announced its preliminary squad at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games as part of Team England.
Three-times Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist Ellen Falkner and a return to the elite level for fellow Commonwealth Games Gold Medallists Natalie Chestney and Amy Gowshall are included in the squad.
Men’s national singles champion Ed Morris has been called-up for the first time, along with women’s national singles champion Jamie Lea-Winch, who won medals at the Games in 2010 and 2014, having been omitted for selection in 2018.
The men’s team includes current World Triples Champions Jamie Walker, Andrew Knapper and Robert Paxton and Commonwealth Games medallists Sam Tolchard and Jamie Chestney.
Ten para-athletes will also be included on the inclusive High Performance Programme, to be announced following discussion with Disability Bowls England, responsible for organising the initial selection process.
The preparation programme will be led by Commonwealth silver medallist John McGuinness, appointed High Performance Director in February 2019, responsible for managing all aspects of the performance plan.
Mo Monkton and Kirk Smith will be overseeing the women’s and men’s squads, respectively.
“With 11 medals to play for across the men’s, women’s and Para Bowls events, we are fully committed to playing our part in Team England’s success.
“The focus for the next 12 months will be on assessing individual technical and tactical abilities, while also assessing playing unit compatibility and team cohesion.
“We are delighted that we can engage with specialists in both physiology and psychology to plan and implement a sports science programme that will serve all athletes involved in the High Performance Squad, which will build the foundations for future success,” said McGuinness.
“The Commonwealth Games is the pinnacle event for Lawn Bowls and a home Games is a tremendous opportunity for the sport and its athletes.
“We are ambitious in our desire to maximize home advantage by making best use of the resources available in support of our athletes, whilst creating the foundations of a performance infrastructure and culture for the future.
“We will also be seeking to use the brand platform to inspire thousands to take up our inclusive, accessible sport,” said Jon Cockcroft, Bowls England Chief Executive.
The High Performance Men’s Squad: Nick Brett (Brampton BC, Huntingdonshire) Jamie Chestney (Culm Vale BC, Devon) Andrew Knapper (Tilehurst BC, Berkshire) Edward Morris (Essex County BC, Essex) Robert Paxton (Crediton BC, Devon) Louis Ridout (Kings BC, Devon) Sam Tolchard (Kings BC, Devon) Jamie Walker (Northampton West End BC, Northamptonshire).
Women: Natalie Chestney (Kings BC, Devon)
Ellen Falkner (Littleport BC, Cambridgeshire)
Amy Gowshall (Cleethorpes BC, Lincolnshire) Sian Honnor (Appleyard BC, Kent) Lorraine Kuhler (Oxford City & County BC, Oxfordshire) Katherine Rednall (Norfolk BC, Norfolk) Sophie Tolchard (Kings BC, Devon) Jamie-Lea Winch (Kingscroft BC, Leicestershire)
The final Team England bowls squad for Birmingham 2022 is expected to be announced late in 2021.