England were in Ayr, Scotland for the European Championships and achieved sensational success in their quest for European medals. England won six European medals including three gold, two silvers and one bronze whilst also claiming the Overall Team trophy for being the highest achievers across the group stages and medals.
Overall European Team Champions – England
Team Managers – Stuart Thomas and Nicola Bowe
Women’s Pairs – Won GOLD | Group position: 1st – Won: 5 Lost: 1
Emma Cooper and Stef Branfield – European Women’s Pairs Gold Medallists
Emma Cooper and Stef Branfield finished top of a tough Section B group, winning all but one of their group matches. Big wins against Guernsey, Netherlands and Israel meant they went through as group winners on shot difference. Their only defeat came against Scotland’s Emma McIntyre and Rachael Sinclair with a narrow 16-17 loss. They faced Alis Butten and Bethan Russ of Wales in the semi final and Cooper and Branfield were up against it as they were 6-9 down at ten ends. However, seven shots in the next five ends helped them take a 13-9 lead. Despite a three from Wales, Cooper and Branfield closed the game out to win the semi final 17-12 and go into the Gold medal match. Ireland’s Sarah Kelly and Shauna O’Neil were their opponents and it was a brilliant spectacle for those watching. The Ireland pair started well and were 6-1 up before Cooper and Branfield levelled it at 6-6 at 8 ends. Ireland were ahead 15-9 at 16 ends but England crucially scored five to be just one behind going into the last end. Stef Branfield trailed the jack for England hold game with three shots but a brilliant last bowl from Shauna O’Neil cut it down to one to take the match to an extra end. Cooper and Branfield both drew in to apply the pressure and won the extra end to win 16-15 and claim the Gold medal.
Women’s Triples – Won SILVER | Group position: 2nd – Won: 3 Drawn: 2
Ruby Hill, Laura Holden and Lorraine Kuhler – European Women’s Triples Silver Medallists
After a frustrating start, Ruby Hill, Laura Holden and Lorraine Kuhler fought hard to get out of their group in second place. Despite draws against Scotland and Isle Of Man, they picked up brilliant wins over Spain, Switzerland and France over Sunday and Monday. Hill, Holden and Kuhler took on Wales’ Lauren Gowen, Hannah Williams and Melanie Thomas in the semi final. The England triple scored four on the eighth end to go 10-5 in front. The Wales triple struck back with nine shots in the next three ends to take a 14-10 lead. Going into the final end, Wales were 17-16 in front but Hill, Holden and Kuhler scored a decisive two to snatch the match and win 18-17. In the Gold medal match, England started the better and led 5-2 in the early stages. Ireland’s Ashleigh Rainey, Lara Reaney and Chloe Wilson took control of the match thanks to a four and a two on the fourteenth and fifteenth end to go 13-9 in front. The Ireland triple saw out the match to win 15-13, resulting in a silver for England.
Men’s Pairs – Won GOLD | Group Position: 1st – Won: 7 Lost: 0
Tom McGuinness and Ed Morris – European Men’s Pairs Gold Medallists
Tom McGuinness and Ed Morris played some scintillating bowls to mean they won their group with a game in hand to qualify for the semi finals. A highlight for them was beating Wales 19-11 on Saturday. It was a close match for two thirds of it before McGuinness and Morris dug in to get a five and put Wales at arm’s length. The pair then controlled the match well to seal the victory. In the semi final, against Scotland’s Jason Banks and John Fleming Jnr, the England pair raced ahead to a 13-4 lead at twelve ends. Despite Scotland scoring four on the following end, McGuinness and Morris maintained their momentum and won the semi final 19-11. In the Gold medal match, the England pair faced Matt Solway and Todd Priaulx of Guernsey. It was 5-5 at five ends before England scored a two and a three to take a 10-5 lead. That five shot advantage remained on the penultimate end as McGuinness and Morris were 19-14 ahead. On the last end, Guernsey built a good head but England contained the score to three and McGuinness and Morris claimed Men’s Pairs Gold.
Men’s Triples – Fourth Place | Group Position: 1st – Won: 7 Lost: 0
Jordan Philpott, Harry Goodwin and Lee Calver (L to R) with Netherlands triple
Superb performances from Lee Calver, Jordan Philpott and Harry Goodwin meant that they finished top of a tough group and had a highly impressive shot difference to their names. The three of them combined brilliantly in all seven of their group matches. A monumental moment for them was claiming a 22-19 win over Scotland in Round 5. Goodwin delivered a world class bowl by taking out two Scotland bowls and stopping to make a maximum score of six. In the semi final against Ireland’s Aaron Tennant, Gary Kelly and Mark Wilson, Calver, Philpott and Goodwin scored four on the tenth end to go 9-7 up. However, Ireland immediately struck back with a four of their own and kept the lead all the way to the end of the match to win 16-13 and put the England triple into the Bronze medal match. Calver, Philpott and Goodwin faced Israel’s Zvika Hadar, Selwyn Hare and Allan Saitowitz for the Bronze. England got off to a bad start as Israel scored heavily in the first ten ends to lead 17-5. England scored the better in the last eight ends picking up a five and a four in the process but the deficit was too much to close as the Israel triple secured a Bronze medal, winning 23-16.
Women’s Singles – Won GOLD – Group position: 1st – Won: 5 Lost: 1
Stef Branfield – European Women’s Singles Gold Medallist
Stef Branfield showed her brilliance in the group stages winning all but one of her group matches. She went through as the group winner to the semi finals where she faced Israel’s Ruti Gilor. Gilor went 11-9 in front thanks to a four but Branfield came back well to retake the lead at 13-11. Branfield saw out the match well scoring a four, a two and two ones in the latter stages to win 21-15. In the Gold medal match, Branfield played Scotland’s Emma McIntyre which was a close match in the first half at 6-6 until a flurry of scoring meant Branfield went 18-9 in front. McIntyre made a commendable comeback to close the gap to 18-15 but Branfield picked up a three to win 21-15 and clinched her second Gold of the European Championships.
Women’s Fours – Won BRONZE – Group position: 1st – Won: 4 Lost: 1
Ruby Hill, Emma Cooper, Laura Holden and Lorraine Kuhler (L to R) – European Women’s Fours Bronze Medallists
Despite losing to Jersey, Emma Cooper, Ruby Hill, Laura Holden and Lorraine Kuhler won their group with good wins over Ireland and Switzerland. They faced Scotland’s Kimberley Dodds, Dawn Anderson, Megan Grantham and Rachael Sinclair in the semi final and found themselves 12-5 down at nine ends. Cooper, Hill, Holden and Kuhler fantastically strung the next six ends together to level the match at 12-12 going into the last end. The Scotland four however got over the line, scoring a one, to win 13-12. England faced Lauren Gowen, Alis Butten, Hannah Williams and Bethan Russ of Wales in the Bronze medal match. The England four claimed a 16-7 lead at twelve ends after eight shots in four ends. They controlled the remainder of the match well to win the Bronze with the final score 19-10 to England.
Men’s Singles – Fourth Place – Group position: 1st – Won: 7 Lost: 1
Jordan Philpott with Men’s Manager Stuart Thomas
Jordan Philpott battled his way through tense matches in the group stages including wins over Ireland’s Gary Kelly (21-17) and Israels’s Zvita Hadar (21-19). His only group stage defeat came against Turkey’s Serkan Akar. Philpott faced Jersey’s Michael Rive in the semi final and fought back from 13-7 down to lead 17-13. Rive however regained control of the match with two ones and two threes to win 21-17 meaning Philpott went into the Bronze medal match. There he took on Scotland’s Mark O’Hagan and started the better, leading 6-4. O’Hagan then ran ahead to a 18-10 lead and proved too much for Philpott with O’Hagan winning the match 21-13. It concluded a disappointing European Championships for Philpott with no medals but one where he showed great tenacity and spirit himself whilst also supporting his England teammates.
Men’s Fours – Won SILVER – Group position: 1st – Won: 6 Lost: 1
Tom McGuinness, Harry Goodwin, Lee Calver and Ed Morris (L to R) – European Men’s Fours Silver Medallists
Tom McGuinness, Lee Calver, Harry Goodwin and Ed Morris took commanding wins in their group including a 27-8 victory over Cyprus. Their one group stage defeat was against Wales where they lost 13-8. Heading into the semi final, they found themselves in a tense match against Ireland’s Aaron Tennant, Stuart Bennett, Stephen Kirkwood and Mark Wilson. The lead of the match changed hands five times up until the England four scored a four on the twelth end to take a narrow 13-12 lead. Two twos on the last two ends gave England a 17-13 win over Ireland and McGuinness, Calver, Goodwin and Morris went through the Gold medal match. For the Gold, England faced Blair Davidson, Jason Banks, Connor Milne and John Fleming Jnr of Scotland. England picked up a five early on to lead 6-3 after 3 ends. The scoring was close the middle third of the match as it went level at 10-10 on the eleventh end. Going into the last end, Scotland were narrowly 13-12 in front and held shot as Ed Morris bowled his last bowl. He fired and hit the jack off the rink but Scotland had the closest bowl to the two metre mark where the jack was respotted. The final score was 14-12 in favour of Scotland as McGuinness, Calver, Goodwin and Morris settled for the Silver.
Full results from the European Championships can be found here.