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Ruby Hill U25 winner 

The new EIBA Women's Under 25 Singles champion has described lifting the title at Solihull IBC last weekend as "really special".

Ruby Hill's only hope ahead of the event was to "play as well as I can."

The Spalding Lightning player said: "This was my first time going to Solihull so wasn't sure on what to expect and knew it would be tough with a field full of internationals. Sets play feels like a slightly different mindset - you are always hoping to settle on a pace early on to get a good start in the first set. Reaching final stages of nationals is about hoping to string together a couple of good games when you get the chance. I've struggled a bit on the green for the last year or so, I try and enjoy games as much as I can now so anything past the first round was a bonus for me."

Ruby, 24, is no stranger to success on the green.
She won the EIBA Women's National Pairs in 2018 with good friend Chelsea Spencer, which Ruby includes in her career highlights to date.

She said: "This was my first national title so will always be incredibly special. We'd been playing pairs together since I was about 12 and Chelsea had always helped me find a bit of belief that we could do anything we put our minds to!
"Winning the National Under 25 Singles in 2022 was also brilliant - the finals were at Spalding that year and I was really lucky to have had a lot of support over that weekend. To achieve a title at the club I grew up in with my family watching was so special.
"Taking part in the European Championships was one of the best experiences I've had in my career both on and off the green. I learnt so much over the week and was lucky enough to be part of a team that was led with experience and had a great atmosphere together.
"This was my first real experience of playing against other countries outside of the British Isles and to come away with Silver in the Triples and Bronze in the Fours was a real achievement for me. The team also getting the overall trophy and sharing the experience with my partner Jordan Philpott being a part of the men's team too was special, representing England together and having a piece of home with me that week was so nice."
Mixed Pairs winners
Ruby's final top highlight is getting selected for England for the first time in the Under 18 International Series in Dunfermline in 2014.

"Pulling an England shirt on for the first time was such a nerve-wracking but extremely proud feeling," she recalled.
"I really believe these events are so important and can change the perception of young people wanting to represent their country in the sport and what they can do next - it certainly did mine."

As a child Ruby lived just minutes from an outdoor bowls club, and she was introduced to the game shortly after her father attended an open day, at the age of eight.

"My mum and dad found the junior section at Spalding IBC and I used to watch my older play brother play there most Saturday mornings. I would go on the green during the break time to have a go and that was it! We were really lucky at Spalding to have had a good number of coaches through the junior section.
"I was a really shy child so my first impressions of bowls was that it was something I could have a go at on my own initially without the pressure to speak to people. As I got older, it helped me massively with confidence in social settings and being able to talk with people over something in common. I have made amazing friendships and come across people I would never have met in my life if it wasn't for playing bowls.
"I think I've always had a competitive side in me from a young age and bowls was something I loved experiencing that feeling of - the club at Spalding turned in to my second home!"

Nowadays, Ruby loves the competitive side of the game.

"I enjoy the passion it brings out in people and the social side too -I still find it addictive to play and always want to be better," she said.
"We give up so much of our time playing bowls, evenings, weekends and all the travelling involved that it's so important to enjoy it. At the end of the day, it is my hobby but is a sport that I love that I also want to see grow and have the platform it deserves to allow more people to enjoy it too.
"If I could change one thing it would be the idea that bowls should be played quietly or that players can't show excitement on the rink. I think this is what shows people are passionate and ultimately want to win. I am by no means the loudest person in the room but being a part of an atmosphere is not only great for a player but also supporters watching too.
"The recent introduction of music in some clubs I find great, but I think it's finding a way to showcase the sport the best possible way when we get the opportunities to do so to encourage others to get involved too."

Fellow Lincolnshire bowler Amy Pharoah has been a role model for Ruby since she started bowling.
"Amy is so kind in sharing knowledge and experience whilst also getting the best out of herself and anyone she plays with," she said.
"To me, Amy is one of the greatest players in the world who makes a game enjoyable but never forgets her passion to win. I feel incredibly lucky I get to share the rink and learn from her these last few years (preferably with her & not against her!).
"My own hopes for the future are to give back to the sport that has given me so much. Whether that be trying to get involved with coaching/managing etc, I'm not sure, but I would love to help others get into the game or get to experience the managing/selection side of bowls too."

Sian Honnor.

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

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January 2024

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