Billingshurst brothers bowled over by England U21 call up

Richard and Chriss Jeffery
Richard and Chriss Jeffery

Two brothers from Billingshurst are celebrating their first international call ups after successful selection to the England Under-21 squad.

Chris, 18, and Richard Jeffery, 15, both members of Ashington Short Mat Bowls Club have been called up for a series of matches following successful trials at Northampton on September 7.

Confirmation of their places in the England U21s was confirmed four days later to the delight of the family and their local club.

Chris, who was 17 at the time of the trials, said: “I’m feeling really excited about playing for England U21 and can’t wait to play the first game.”

Younger brother Richard added: “It is an honour to play for your country in a sport you love but we could not have done it without the support of our club.”

Dad Steve echoed those words when he said: “I would like to thank Gillian (Weston) and Allen (Tolley) for all there help and encouragement that they have given the boys and indeed all the members of Ashington who made them and me so welcome.

“I know both are very excited to have this fantastic opportunity to play for England in a sport they both love to play.”

The brothers, who both play for Sussex will play in four practice games against Norfolk overs 60s, the Hereford county squad, North Yorkshire and then Hampshire between now and next March.

The first international game will be against Wales, date to be confirmed.

Ashington chairman Allen Tolley said: “This is their first call up for the England U21s and the first time both had trialled.

“As a club were are very very proud of both of them. They’ve been involved at Ashington for around five years and we’ve seen both of them progress no end.

“They are both very committed and train twice a week.”

Traditionally considered a sport for the older generation, at elite level that’s not really the case with many younger players among the best in the country.

Still many clubs struggle to attract a younger membership and Mr Tolley added: “We’re very lucky to have two exceptional players as Chris and Richard, as well as seven between the age of six and 11. Young players like these are essential for the well being of the club.”