Newcomers are happy to have super-sub Ali Merrien at the helm

MAUREEN FORINO and Miriam Parker enjoyed watching the quarter-finals of the British Isles Indoor Bowls championships in Belfast yesterday – but confessed to feeling nervous about making their first appearance at this level today.

Newcomers are happy to have super-sub Ali Merrien at the helm

'It's something new to both of us,' said Parker. 'We're nervous, but looking forward to the experience of getting out there, and competing in the semi-finals of the triples.'

Unfortunately, their skip Rose Ogier will not be in charge of proceedings because she hurt herself in an accident on holiday and, although she is making a good recovery, she had to withdraw from this British event.

'But we will feel quite confident with Ali at the helm,' said Maureen, referring to the fact that the legendary Ali Merrien, already in Belfast in an official capacity, is available to replace Ogier as the Channel Islands' skip.

'It's been marvellous to see this fantastic club in action, and there's been some really exciting bowls to watch,' added Forino. 'Ali has experienced bowls at this level so many times, and that really fills us with confidence.'

Last night, the Sarnian trio got on to the green for a valuable practice session and are raring to go this morning when they take on Irish champions Chloe Watson, Cliodhna Eadie and Sandra Bailie, who are all members of the Belfast club and play there regularly.

The Irish trio will have home advantage and will undoubtedly have the crowd behind them, but success in bowls is 'all on the day' and Merrien is determined to give it her best shot.

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