Belfast Telegraph

Irish will strive to upset odds: Bailie

By David Mason

Ireland captain Sandra Bailie admits her team will approach today's Women's Home International Bowls Championships at the Watson Stadium with more hope than expectation.

The Irish have yet to get their hands on the Clara Jones Trophy and it would be a huge shock to the system if they were to change that statistic in front of home supporters at the popular Belfast venue.

However, for this afternoon's opener against England, Ireland are boosted by the return of Cliodhna Eadie and Ashleigh Rainey, who both missed out at Llanelli in Wales last season. They are two of five changes to the team. Debbie Sidwell is also recalled, while Beverley Watson and Roberta Tinsley have been handed debuts.

"It's a tall order for us, even on our home carpets," admitted Bailie.

"The bottom line is that the other home countries could field umpteen international sides, particularly Scotland. The sport is very heavily backed financially over there.

"But we'll be giving it our best shot, make no mistake about that.

"We've never won the team title and the reality is that we'll be the big underdogs once again, so anything we get will certainly be a bonus."

The women's internationals begin an eight-day bowls bonanza at the Belfast club.

The British Isles Championships will take centre stage from Monday to Wednesday, with the men's internationals played off from Thursday-Saturday.

Ireland: Rink 1: N Graham, H Wilson, C Eadie, S Bailie.

Rink 2: P Johnston, B Watson, A Elliott, D Baird.

Rink 3: P Ross, J Montgomery, P Horner, B Donnelly.

Rink 4: W Adair, P Calvin, L Bruce, A McKillop.

Rink 5: R Tinsley, G Menice, M McCord, A Rainey.

Rink 6: C Watson, J Bell, D Sidwell, S Jess.

Reserves: B Leckey, A Smith, M Swann.

Today: Scotland v Wales (10am).

Ireland v England (3.30pm): S Bailie v S Seymour; D Baird v A Dunham; B Donnelly v E Falkner; A McKillop v W King; A Rainey v M Barlow; S Jess v P Strong.

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