England is next step on path for champion

Sudbury Bowls Club’s Lea Blackham is hoping becoming the first over-60s national singles champion from Suffolk can lead to an England call-up.

The 62-year-old of Polstead, near Boxford, returned from Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire with his name on the coveted men’s senior singles trophy.

And now the current holder of the Suffolk singles championship would love to top it off with a national over-50s call-up.

“The club has to submit my record and I would like to think I would be considered,” said Blackham with the squad announcement by the end of May.

He had to go through 10 rounds, five in the Melton Mowbray finals from Wednesday last week, to claim the English Indoor Bowling Association title.

Blackham had been on the brink of a quarter-final exit at 17-5 down to Mike Smith, but won 21-18 and then won through to the final against Moonfleet’s (Weymouth) Barry Patterson.

He recovered from 5-0 down, winning 17 straight points to win 21-11.

“It was a bit unexpected,” he said of his success, after coming through a tournament that started with around 1,000 competitors.