National title for Angel Bowls Club trio

The Bowls England Men's National Triples title has been won by Suffolk bowls players for the first time in 27 years, and was achieved in glorious style.

The Bowls England Men's National Triples title has been won by Suffolk bowls players for the first time in 27 years, and was achieved in glorious style.

The winning trio from Halesworth Angel Bowls Club was Mark Todd from Bungay together with John Catchpole and son Ian, 22, from Worlingham.

They stormed through a star-studded field of international players and past winners before landing the national trophy at Worthing on Saturday, by defeating a Devon trio.

John Catchpole said: “This is a dream come true for all of us. To win it with my son is really special, indescribable,

“Myself and Mark have been trying to achieve this goal for many years, and for Ian to win it playing skip at a young age can only further bolster his ambitions within the game. Already he is in the England under 25 team - who knows where this could lead for him?”

The trio of Mark Todd, John Catchpole and his son Ian started with an 18-14 win over Kent followed by wins over Bedfordshire 19-18, Wiltshire 23-16, Oxfordshire 21-13 and Yorkshire 20-12 on their way to the final where they played Teignmouth's Bitten Park Club and won 19-9.

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This was the first time that any of the Suffolk trio had reached the actual national final, Mark having come close, losing in the pairs semi-final in 1998, and John when losing the fours quarter final in 2000. For Ian this was a complete new experience having played in the triples with Mark and John in 2007 but went out in the second game at the finals.

In the final the opponents were Devon represented by Teignmouth Bitton Club, in front of the packed grandstands, with good support having travelled down from Suffolk.

Mark, John and Ian made a good start, going into an early 7-2 lead but Devon pulled this back, at the halfway stage the scores were level at 7-7, but Suffolk picked up a vital count of four shots on the ninth end, which turned the game their way.

The Suffolk team continued to play to a high standard and from this point they pressed on to a convincing victory, Devon conceded the final on the 17th end with the score at 19-9.

The crowd rose to their feet to applaud the Suffolk bowlers' victory, scenes of emotion and celebration followed. This was an immense achievement for the three players, winning a national title at the “Wembley” of bowls.

The trio will now go on to represent England at the British Isles Championships, to be held in Edinburgh in 2011.

Here they will play against the Champions of Scotland, Wales, Ireland and the Channel Isles for the British Triples title.

Next month Ian will be flying to Londonderry, Northern Ireland to play for England in the U25 Home International Series.

n Halesworth Angel Bowls Club is enjoying one of its most successful seasons, the national triples triumph being the highlight.

The Angels have won the Suffolk Bowls England Lowestoft Area League for the fifth successive year and will meet Bourne End of Ipswich in the first play-off round. The club will play the Felixstowe and Suffolk club in the final of the prestigious Quinton Bowl at Framlingham Castle on September 11 and meet Ipswich club Marlborough in the final of the Norton Cup in Ipswich on September 12.

The Angels are also in the final of the Federation Easey Cup and are doing well in the league with games still to complete.

As well as Ian Catchpole being selected to play for the England U25 against Ireland in Belfast over September 11 and 12, his sister Louise has been runner-up in the county U25 and qualified to play at the All-England Ladies' Championships held at Leamington Spa.

Other young bowlers have shown considerable improvement this year under the guidance of club coach Roger Denny and his team, some now being ready for competitive play and will compete in Mark Royal's U15 tournament.

Numbers are increasing with tremendous parental support and Roger will be taking them to Beccles for tuition on Saturday mornings when the indoor season starts.

The Halesworth green has played very well this year with lots of TLC from Ralph Wright, John Stevens and their other helpers and is now once again one of the best playing surfaces in the county.