2023 Bowls Europe Mixed Pairs Team Announcement
Bowls Scotland is delighted to announce that Kara Lees and Paul Innes have been selected to represent Scotland at the 2023 Bowls Europe Mixed Pairs which will be held at Tenerife Green Bowls, Spain from Friday 22nd – Sunday 24th September.
This will be the inaugural running of the Bowls Europe Mixed Pairs, which follows on from last year’s European Championships where Scotland won two golds, two silvers and four bronze medals from the eight disciplines being contested. All 19 Bowls Europe member nations have been invited to the Mixed Pairs event, ensuring some of the continents established and best up and coming players will battle it out to be crowned champions.
After both enjoying stellar seasons by winning various club and county competitions and qualifying for the 2023 Bowls Scotland National Championships, both Kara and Paul have been rewarded with their selections for this event. Both players will also represent Scotland in the upcoming Under 25 Internationals which will be held at Llandrindod Wells Bowling Club, Wales on Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th September.
With Kara currently part of the Women’s High Performance squad and Paul set to captain the Scotland Men’s U25 team, the Bowls Europe Mixed Pairs is sure to be a great opportunity for both players to further develop their international experience.
Before they jet off to Tenerife, we caught up with Kara and Paul to find out more about their bowls journeys. Find the full Q&A below.
Q1. When and how did your journey in bowls begin?
KL: “I started my bowls journey at 7-year-old at Abbeyview Bowling Club where my mum and papa were members. Going to the bowls and watching them both play sparked my interest, eventually leading to me joining the junior section.”
PI: “I first started playing bowls around the age of 11/12. My dad plays and I’d been around the club (Polton BC) since I was born and I had had a couple of shots when I was little, but I started going along to junior coaching that year, quickly progressing to the first team by the age of 14.”
Q2. What’s been your best achievement to date?
KL: “My best achievement would be winning the indoor British Isles Under 25 Ladies Singles in October 2022 and also winning a bronze medal in the Mixed Pairs at the Under 25 World Indoor Championships last year.”
PI: “My best achievement to date would probably be being part of the Under 25’s Scotland team that won three international series in a row. There’s no feeling in the world that can replicate winning something at international level and representing your country. A few other ones that stand out would be winning the Under 18’s indoor British Isles Fours and also being part of the league and cup double winning team with Midlothian this past indoor season.”
Q3. Who’s had the biggest influence on your bowls career and why?
KL: “My mum has had the biggest influence on my bowls career. The amount of time she has put into helping me get to where I am today and the patience she has had with me I will always appreciate. She always supports me everywhere I go and to know that she’s always there is such a special feeling. Not to forget her own achievements which have all motivated me to try my best and make her proud.”
PI: “My dad will be disappointed with this one, but I don’t think I could narrow it down to one person as I think at different stages I’ve looked up to different people. When I first started playing it would’ve been my dad, Peter, and my uncle, Tommy, who is sadly not here with us anymore as they were the two that got me playing. They both came to watch when I played at Ayr in the SYBA competition for the first time. At 15, I managed to break into the Midlothian team indoor and my skip was Colin Walker, to play and learn from Colin at that age was a great experience. Players like Colin, Ronnie Duncan, David Peacock and Graeme Archer are people you look up to for what they’ve done in the sport so to play with them week in week out, you can’t ask for anything more. This makes you want to try and emulate their successes in the future.”
Q4. How have you been preparing for the upcoming Bowls Europe Mixed Pairs?
KL: “Currently, I have been playing in county competitions and also going for practice sessions with my mum. After the Under 25 series, I will have a few games indoor before I travel to Tenerife, which will help me adapt to the faster surface that we will experience.”
PI: “Preparing for the upcoming tournament has been hectic these last few weeks with everything getting to semi-final and final stages. For the first time this season, I’m not playing at Polton and have joined Bonnyrigg Bowling Club and we have been in the later stages of all competitions. To date, we have won the league, lost the final of the league cup and managing to retain our District top 10 title which gives the club the chance to defend our Scottish inter county title next year. Individually, I’ve managed to win a few competitions at the club and lastly, the week before we go to Tenerife, I’m down in Wales for the Under 25 Internationals.”
Q5. You are also both selected for the upcoming Under 25 Internationals, what are your aims for this event?
KL: “I am really looking forward to this event as it’s a great group of girls to compete with. The main aims are to work together by supporting each other across all the rinks, which I am positive we will do and to come home with the trophy along with the boys!”
PI: “To my surprise I’ve been made captain of the team this year, so there’s no aim other than to be lifting that trophy on the Sunday afternoon and bringing it back to Scotland. Especially with the disappointment of losing out last year and not to win our fourth series in a row.”
Q6. Is this the first time you have competed abroad? What challenges are you expecting to face?
KL: “This is my first time competing abroad and I am really looking forward to the competition. The weather could be a challenge as we don’t tend to experience that playing in Scotland!”
PI: “Not on this scale but I’ve competed abroad before in Australia at the start of this year when I was on holiday and played a few league games for Fitzroy Bowling Club in Melbourne. I’ve also been on a few bowling tours in Spain and played a few games for our wee local club, San Miguel, where we visit regularly. I’ve played on the surface enough to know what to expect so I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Q7. What would it mean to you to come home with a gold medal from the Bowls Europe Mixed Pairs?
KL: “Every win is special, but it would be an amazing feeling to win a gold medal at this event.”
PI: “It would mean everything to come back with a gold from this event, it’s the inaugural competition so to be the first name on the trophy would be some achievement. It’s also the first time I’ve competed at this level representing Scotland, so I want to make sure we do well.”
More information on the 2023 Bowls Europe Mixed Pairs can be found here: https://bowlseurope.com/european-mixed-pairs-championships-2023/.
We will keep everyone updated on Kara and Paul’s progress throughout the event via our website and social media pages.