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Bowls season under way
8:00am Thursday 17th October 2013 in Sport
HAMPSHIRE’S indoor bowls campaign swings into action this weekend when the resuscitated juniors tackle Sussex in the English IBA under-25 double-rink championship.
After withdrawing last season because of inexperience, Hampshire re-enter a competition in which they have twice been runners-up (2003 and 2004) but have yet to win.
This winter's team has a sturdy look with proven outdoor performers Nathan Durman and Leigh Allen boosted by the arrival of Adam Clark, the Isle of Wight under-18 international now with Victory, and county junior champion Ashley Nethercliffe.
In 2009 Clark became the youngest player ever to reach the last 32 of the EIBA singles at Nottingham while Durman and Allen have reached the Worthing nationals in recent summers.
Clark skips a home rink completed by a Loddon Vale trio, two of whom are the Jones brothers, Ross and Lewis.
Team manager is Alan Smith of Loddon Vale who named the following rinks for Sunday morning's match when the prize for the winners is a date with Surrey next month: Home: (Chawton Park) Ashley Nethercliffe, Ross Jones, Lewis Jones (all Loddon Vale), Adam Clark (Victory); away: (Arun, Bognor Regis) Harry Hutchings (Victory), Leigh Allen (Atherley), Nathan Durman, Ryan Baker (both Riverside).
While the juniors are playing, Hampshire senior boss Adrian Snook will be holding his first Liberty Trophy trial at Palmerston, venue for the first-round match against Middlesex on Saturday, November 23.
The Victory member expects to run the rule over some 40 bowlers in a five-rink session but was hoping this week that numbers would be boosted for a six-rink get-together.
As well as Richard Shelley (taking time out) Snook will this season be without experienced performers Russell Morgan and Alan Geary who have moved from Hampshire association club East Dorset across the border to Bournemouth and Dorset.
Snook, who has taken the helm from Derek Collins, said: “This season will be very much a trial for me and everyone else while we get our feet under the table. “There will be quite a few faces from last season's squad but there will also probably be a few who have not had a trial before let alone played in the Liberty.
“The fact that we have lost several players means others will get a chance. No team has been selected yet – everyone starts from scratch.”
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