Gateford teen lands national bowls crown

Zoe Parker

Zoe Parker

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A Gateford teenager has won a national crown green bowls championship, and earned a place in a prestigious ‘Champion of Champions’ final.

Zoe Parker began her quest for the British Crown Green Bowls Under 18 Junior Merit title in April, when she won the South Yorkshire competition.

The Wales High student, who took up bowls competitively three years ago, then did battle against 15 other junior players in four qualifying groups in August, with the winner of each group moving forward to the semi-finals.

Parker was victorious in all her round robin matches and went on to win both her semi-final and the final 15-10 against fellow Yorkshire competitors.

Clinching the Under 18 title saw Parker entered into the Champion of Champions tournament, where she will take on the South Yorkshire Adult Merit champion, at the renowned Waterloo bowling green in Blackpool at the end of September.

Arguably the most prestigious competition of the bowling season, the Champion of Champions event is attended by crowds of up to 1,000.

Parker told the Guardian a previous – albeit less successful – experience of the British finals day helped her to the 2014 triumph.

“Two years ago I qualified for finals day, again by winning the South Yorkshire Merit, but I was not as experienced as some of the other junior players and was extremely nervous,” she said.

“Although I only won one of my qualifying group games it prepared me for what to expect at the same venue this time.”

The Todwick Bowls Club player was under a little more pressure this time round however.

She explained: “I knew it was my last chance to win the Junior Merit as I turned 18 just three days after the competition.”

“What pleased me most about the day was the way I played and that both my mum and dad were able to see me crowned champion.”

And she can’t wait to move on to the Champion of Champions event, on a venue she has a little experience of.

She said: “A real bonus is now being able to play at the Waterloo green, an experience so few bowlers get but it will be good to have the chance to play against the best lady bowlers in the country.”

“The irony of the situation is that we visited Blackpool for our family summer holiday in August and dad took me there to look at the famous green – little did i expect to be playing there so soon afterwards.”

On the regional scene, Parker is hoping to remain unbeaten alongside dad Brian in the Rotherham Friday doubles league and to earn promotion.