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England team announced for 2022 Commonwealth Games

Sixteen athletes have been unveiled in Team Englandโ€™s Lawn Bowls and Para Lawn Bowls team for the home Commonwealth Games in Birmingham this summer.

Half of the athletes selected have competed at a previous Commonwealth Games, with a collective 17 Commonwealth medals between them.

Husband and wife, Jamie and Natalie Chestney will be returning to the Games, with Natalie at her fourth and Jamie his third. The duo come to the team with five medals between them, including Natalieโ€™s coveted gold in the women’s singles in Delhi in 2010, when she was just 21. Jamie will hope to go one better than his silver in the men’s fours in Glasgow back in 2014.

Jamie, 35, is over the moon to be selected. “It’s an honour to be heading to another Games; it’s been a lot of work to get here and I can’t wait for it to get started.

โ€œI’ll definitely be aiming for gold, as that is the ultimate – and as Nat already has one, it would be nice to match her!”

Sophie and Sam Tolchard, siblings from Devon, also join the team with Games experience dating back to Delhi 2010. Sophie has one gold to her name, in the women’s triples in 2014, whereas reigning national singles champion Samโ€™s two bronzes include a third-place finish in the men’s fours on the Gold Coast in 2018.

In the para events, Kieran Rollings will be competing at his second Commonwealth Games after he was the youngest member of England’s lawn bowls team on the Gold Coast, at just 18-years-old. Kieran will pair up with Craig Bowler from Bedfordshire in the Para Menโ€™s Pairs.

Kieran said: โ€œI am in utter shock to be selected for the upcoming Birmingham Games. It was always a dream to play at one Games, let alone the second one โ€“ with the bonus of it being on home soil. Hopefully the profile of a home Games is something we can use to get more people playing. I feel such pride to be part of Team England again.โ€

Alison Yearling and Chris Turnbull will star in the Visually Impaired event with grandmother and grandson duo Sue Wherry and Mark Wherry as their directors.

The sixteen players to represent Team England are:

Womenโ€™s team:

  • Natalie Chestney (Devon)
  • Sian Honnor (Kent)
  • Amy Pharaoh (Lincolnshire)
  • Sophie Tolchard (Devon)
  • Jamie-Lea Winch (Leicestershire)

Menโ€™s team:

  • Nick Brett (Huntingdonshire)
  • Jamie Chestney (Devon)
  • Louis Ridout (Devon)
  • Sam Tolchard (Devon)
  • Jamie Walker (Northamptonshire – now based in Devon)

Para team

Womenโ€™s Pairs:

  • Gill Platt (Surrey)
  • Michelle White (Kent)

Menโ€™s Pairs:

  • Craig Bowler (Bedfordshire)
  • Kieran Rollings (Northamptonshire)

Visually Impaired Pairs:

  • Alison Yearling (Devon)
  • Chris Turnbull (Yorkshire)
  • Directors โ€“ Sue Wherry & Mark Wherry (Cornwall)

One of the debutants in the team, Nick Brett, is delighted to have an opportunity he didnโ€™t think would come. The 47-year-old, based at Brampton BC in Huntingdonshire, said:

โ€œIโ€™m delighted to get selected to play in a home Commonwealth Games. I thought it was something thing I would never do, and now I just canโ€™t wait until the Opening Ceremony!โ€

Team Englandโ€™s Chef de Mission, Mark England OBE, welcomed the athletes to the team: โ€œCompeting in Lawn Bowls at the Commonwealth Games is the pinnacle of the sport and weโ€™re delighted to announce our fully integrated team for Birmingham 2022.Team England Bowlers have a successful history in performances at the Games and with a blend of experience and Games debutants in this team, weโ€™re looking forward and excited to watch them compete.โ€

Team England have shown strength in the sport, currently placing second on the all-time Commonwealth Games medal table, behind fellow Home Nation, Scotland.

The home of English Bowls will be transformed next year, as the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games programme will be played on the greens at Victoria Park in Royal Leamington Spa from the 29th of July to the 6th of August.

Team England will send a team of over 400 Team England athletes to compete at Birmingham 2022 and capitalise on the once in a lifetime opportunity to bring home success in their own country.  

The Commonwealth Games is a multi-sport event with a fully integrated programme of para sport disciplines and this yearโ€™s Games promises to be extra special with full stadiums and arenas after Tokyo 2020 took place behind closed doors. Birmingham 2022 is set to have the largest ever female and para sport programme in history after a new discipline of Womenโ€™s T20 Cricket and Beach Volleyball and Para Table Tennis were confirmed.