We caught up with Huntingdonshire’s Rebecca Moorbey ahead of the 2023 Aviva National Finals for a special Road to Leamington feature in our programme.
Last year’s National Finals were nothing short of a triumph for Rebecca Moorbey. Her outstanding performances not only secured her victory in the Women’s Junior Singles but also crowned her champion in the esteemed Women’s Singles. It was validation of her hard work and a “surreal” moment. With the 2023 National Finals upon her, Rebecca is ready to face new challenges and is hoping to defend her title in the Women’s Singles event.
“It’s always an honour to qualify in something every year and compete at Leamington Spa,” Rebecca tells us.
“This year I’ve been lucky enough to qualify in five events so far, one of them being the Women’s Singles, so it’ll be a different challenge coming back to defend a title. I don’t think last year can ever be topped but it would be nice to replicate some of the success this year.”
Winning both Women’s Singles titles was an emotional experience for Rebecca and “meant everything” to her. The Junior Singles victory was a significant milestone, proving her capabilities and dispelling any doubts she had. However, the triumph in the Singles event left her in disbelief.
“To go back and win the main Singles a week later was so surreal. I still don’t think it’s fully sunk in, to be honest!”
When asked about her approach to winning both titles in 2022, Rebecca shares the importance of focusing on one game at a time.
“I try not to worry about what round I’m in, who my opposition may be, or the conditions on the day which was far from ideal in the later stages of the Women’s Singles!”
Rebecca came through challenging conditions on her way to the Singles title. In heavy rain, she overcame Essex’s Elaine Score in a gripping final, 21-16.
Always concentrating on playing her best throughout last year’s National Finals, Rebecca took an invaluable piece of advice into each match.
“The aim is to always come off the green knowing I did everything I could on the day, whether I won or lost. Ellen Falkner once told me to control the controllable and that’s always stuck with me.”
Through winning the National Women’s Singles, Rebecca has earned the opportunity to participate in this year’s World Champion of Champions. The prestigious tournament will be held on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, and takes place from 11th to 16th September.
Though excited about the prospect of playing at the global level, she admits to feeling nervous, as she will be competing against some of the best bowlers worldwide.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to go out there and play, so when I found out the World Champion of Champions was being held in the Gold Coast this year I was over the moon. It is very nerve-wracking knowing you are up against some of the best in the world though, but I’ll take it all in my stride and give it my best go. Whatever happens, it will be an amazing experience I’ll never forget and a huge learning curve.”
Rebecca shares how she picked up the sport, sparking a passion that has now been prominent for over a decade. With no family connections to bowls, her career is a testament to her natural talent and dedication.
“It was actually a school friend of my brothers! He was already part of the Junior Coaching at our local indoor club and he invited us to have a go and we’ve both been hooked ever since. I was eight years old at the time so I’ve been playing nearly 15 years now.”
Throughout her bowls career, Rebecca attributes her success to the unwavering support of her family. Her parents and brothers have been her pillars of strength, providing the encouragement and motivation she needed to excel.
“My parents and brothers have been a huge part of my bowls career, without them I wouldn’t be where I am today. I owe them everything.”
Additionally, she cherishes the friendships she has made in the sport.
“I’m lucky to have made some really good friends through bowls, mainly from my time in the Under 18’s. Although I don’t see a lot of them very often, we are always on the other end of a phone supporting each other whether it’s been a good day or a bad day.
“I can’t thank them enough for going through all the highs and the lows with me – I’m sure there’s many more to come!”
When Rebecca prepares for significant matches, she is meticulous in ensuring she has everything she might need. She can focus solely on the game at hand with no detail left to chance.
“The people I play with know how much I overpack! I will always bring every colour of shorts, along with a change of shirt, multiple cloths, two jackets, two pairs of bowls shoes – you name it, it’s either in my bowls bag or my handbag!”
When asked to reflect on her favourite aspect of bowls, Rebecca shared a similar sentiment to many bowlers today stating her love of the inclusivity and the social opportunities it provides.
“There’s no other sport where you can play with and against people of such a wide range of ages and abilities!”
The journey of Rebecca, from her sensational success at the National Finals to her upcoming participation in the World Champion of Champions, is an inspiring tale of talent, perseverance, and support. As she continues to excel in multiple events, Rebecca demonstrates that with hard work and dedication, dreams can be realised on the green.