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Emily Kernick wins 

The last two years have been a whirlwind for Solihull's Emily Kernick.

In 2023 the 24-year-old made her debut for England indoors, won the EIBA National Under 25 singles title and achieved a silver medal in the World Under 25 Mixed Pairs with Harry Goodwin, just four weeks after suffering a compound fracture in her bowling hand.

"All medical advice was that I shouldn't have been playing, but the chance to play in a world championship was something I didn't know if I would ever get again," Emily said. "It was disappointing to not get a gold medal, but looking back with perspective I am so proud I had the determination to even compete after everything I had been through."

Emily also excelled outdoors, winning both the Bowls England Junior Singles and Junior Pairs championship with her partner Lily Mae Adams and representing England.
"Winning both Under 25 National titles (indoor and outdoor) in the same season is a massive highlight," Emily recalled, "The indoor under 25 singles was the first indoor national that I'd won and gave me such belief in myself that I could go on and be successful in the sport. To then go and win the outdoor Under 25 singles six months later was an incredible feeling."

This year has brought even more success, with Emily selected to play for England women indoors, being named Player of the Series by all the other countries and just last week reaching the final of the EIBA Women's Singles.
"Getting in the Women's England International squad was always the main goal I set myself when I started playing competitively indoors," Emily said.
"I remember sitting in an A-Level PE class during sixth form and learning about goal setting. It was only my first year of playing indoors. Each of us had to set ourselves a SMART goal and stand up and explain it to the rest of the class. Mine was to play for England Women.
"I loved every second of putting on an England Shirt. There are some incredible players in that team and there are also some brilliant players who weren't fortunate enough to be selected so I really wanted to embrace the experience and prove why I think I should be in there in the first place.
"For a new cap coming into the team I was lucky enough to be put into an unbelievable rink alongside Nicole Rogers, Bex Wilgress and Katherine Rednall. These are three great players and I felt immediately at ease playing with them. I think we just gelled really well together as a rink and our performances showed that.
"The team loss to Scotland was obviously disappointing. As a new player you want to come into a successful team and carry on being successful, but Scotland played exceptionally well during that match and were fully deserving of the victory. I'm sure it will have hurt a few of the English girls so watch out for next year, I'm sure we'll be going for revenge."

Describing Katherine Rednall as one of her biggest role models, it was perhaps fitting that Emily played alongside the current Women's World Indoor Matchplay Champion in her debut international series. She was also pitted against her in the National Women's Singles final, with Katherine getting over the line 21-7.
Emily said: "When I first started playing indoors, I would always watch Potters on the telly, and this was around the time when Katherine started dominating the women's competition there. Aside from her ability, I have always admired her confidence and ability to dig in and find a way to win even when she might not be playing at her best.

"In the singles, she showed yet again why she is at the top of the game. I'll go away and hopefully come back next year a better player."Emily Kernick POS

It might surprise people to learn that Emily has only been bowling indoors for eight years and actually started out playing crown green.

"My nan had a bowling green at her work and my mum then started playing so my sister Shannon and I were dragged along from as young as I can remember," she recalled. "I loved it and was very keen and started rolling up as soon as I was big enough to hold a bowl, whereas Shannon was the complete opposite - she sat there on the side playing her Nintendo DS and said she wasn't interested. I then started playing competitively in crown leagues when I was nine years old and started indoors in 2016 when some bowlers at our crown green club suggested we go down to Solihull Indoor Bowls Club and give it a go.
"My first taste of success was winning a local leagues mixed doubles merit in 2012 with my partner Bob Marklew. I remember wearing blue and white stripey trousers as there was no dress code. I think we were 20-12 down (game to 21 shots) and Bob said to me "We aren't coming off this green until we get 21", and we ran out to win 21-20.
"Crown green consists mainly of just two bowl singles, with the occasional doubles competition, in comparison to indoors where some heads can have 16 bowls per end. This means that tactical placing of bowls around the head is much more common indoors.
"In crown green, the bowls and the jack all have the same bias, and you can choose to send the jack in any direction and any length (which could be anything from 19m-75m depending on the size of the green).
"Indoors you often must be within inches to count, and this is the difficult aspect of the sport. There isn't as much variety in the indoor game but that repetitive nature of the sport means the margin of error is very small. whereas in crown, the difficulty is the variety in the greens and marks that you can play. On some greens, bowls that finish five yards away from the jack can be very good bowls. You might go from dropping your bowl down a slope aiming to get it to stop on, to then slinging your bowl 70 metres up a hill.
"There are lots of things that I love about both versions of the game - I love the variety and team spirit in the crown game, and I love the accuracy and concentration required indoors. I truly believe both are brilliant sports and I try my best to promote both versions to the different audiences. I would recommend to anyone who can to go and watch or have a try at the other version.
"The longer you've been playing the two the easier it is to adapt. One of the most important things I focus on is having as smooth a delivery as possible. Slightly adjusting the size and speed of my back swing and follow through allows me to adjust between the two."

Emily says she loves the competitiveness of bowls, and that anyone can beat anyone.
"It doesn't matter what age or gender you are," she said. "I think indoors especially, you get out what you put in. If you put in the time and go and practice regularly, you will improve and become a better player. Another thing I love about bowls is the people. There are so many friends I have made from both crown and indoors that I never would have met if it wasn't for the sport.
"What keeps me motivated is my drive to be successful and reach the highest level I can. At the start of each season, I like to set myself a couple of overall goals. I then like to set myself lots of small goals throughout the season to help remain driven. I find this really helps stay motivated."

So what are Emily's aspirations?
"Initially my ambitions coming indoors were to get picked to represent England, at under 25 level and then at senior level and I am fortunate enough to have achieved both," she said.
"My ambitions now indoors would involve winning a national singles title, skipping a rink for my country, and playing in the Indoor World Championship at Potters. In the outdoor game, it would be a dream to play in World Championships and Commonwealth Games. Bowling over in Australia is also a massive goal of mine."

Sian Honnor.

We'd love to know what bowls means to you, get in touch at info@eiba.co.uk

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April 2024

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