Bowler Sam going for gold at Commonwealth Games

Torbay Weekly

With bronze medals already in his packed trophy cabinet, Torbay's England number one bowler Sam Tolchard says that only 'gold' will do when the Commonwealth Games come to Birmingham next August.

And the 32-year-old National Singles champion - he was named 'Bowler Of The Year' at the Bowls England Awards Night in Leicester recently - is determined that he's in the best possible shape to win at Royal Leamington Spa.

Tolchard is one of five players, including his sister Sophie, from Torquay's King's BC to be named in the England team - Natalie Chestney, Jamie Walker and Louis Ridout are also selected in an unprecedented pick from one club.

Who will play in which events has yet to be confirmed, and there is some speculation that Tolchard's reputation as a winning 'skip' may see him directed towards the pairs and fours.

But he insists: "Everyone talks about medalling first, and I've been to the last three Games and lost three semis.

"Obviously, that's a good achievement and nice at the time, but we are all in it to win, and it would be nice to get to the final and not have to play for bronze again.

"With the Games being on our 'home' green, it will give us the best chance we've ever had.

"I want to try and win other competitions this year, but all my eggs are really in that Games basket, without a doubt.

"Everything is focussed on that."

Electrician Tolchard revealed that the team is pulling in the latest fitness and nutrition regimes.

"You don't have to be super-fit to roll a bowl down a green, of course not, but it's three games a day and then it becomes a mentally exhausting sport," he said.

"The fitter you are, the easier it is to stay strong under pressure and make the right decisions in those last games.

"It's the strongest England team I've ever been involved in, and we want to leave no stone unturned."

Tolchard is also hoping to help Devon to 'indoor' Liberty Trophy success, and the squad is off on a 'team-bonding' session in London this weekend before facing Surrey in the semi-finals.