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Proud Kirsty on English singles success

Ilminster’s Kirsty Hembrow added her name to the list of women’s national singles champions, as she won the recent English Indoor Bowling Association title.

The 32-year-old admitted to being speechless after her victory at Nottingham IBC, but Bowls International’s Matt Wordingham caught up with Kirsty to discuss her success.

When six-year-old Kirsty Hembrow first attended a taster day at her local bowls club in 1995, little did she expect that she would become a future national singles champion.

That success is an aspiration for many young, competitive bowlers starting out on their quest for national and international successes, but very few achieve it.

Kirsty’s career started at Taunton Deane BC in Somerset almost two decades ago, and it is somewhat a family affair for the Hembrow’s, with her father Trevor, younger brother Levi and several cousins, aunties and uncles also playing the sport.

But it is Kirsty who has achieved the most success, with national and international honours dating back to the mid-2000s.

Kirsty enjoyed a seven-year spell starting in 2005 as part of England’s indoor junior international team, making her debut in the outdoor equivalent squad the following year.

A 21-18 victory for Kirsty in the final over Swale’s Wendy King ensured that she became the first bowler from Somerset to win the EIBA women’s national singles title since Edna Bessell MBE in 2001.

“I don’t think there are any words to describe the feeling of winning the competition and it’s just out of the world to think I have won the biggest competition within the English indoor association,” she added.

“I celebrated with my friend and family with a meal and Ilminster held a party at the bowls club for me.”

With June also coinciding with Pride Month, we asked Kirsty, an open member of the LGBTQ+ community, about her experience within the sport.

“Within bowls no one has ever been disrespectful towards me, and I have always been included within the bowls world,” she said.

“I feel the sport is very inclusive as wherever I have played, I have always felt welcomed with open arms.

“I have no worries about being open as I feel I am me. If someone doesn’t like it, then I respect their views and just play the sport without pressuring them into any discussion.”

The full interview with Kirsty can be read in June’s issue of Bowls International.

Bowls International is the world’s most respected bowling magazine, available monthly in both digital and print formats.

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