Katherine Rednall hoping to secure Commonwealth Games place with impressive outdoor campaign
Stowmarket-raised Katherine Rednall believes the England Bowls squad will be starting on a ‘level playing field’ as the outdoor season gets under way.
The 25-year-old gave birth to her first child, Harry, on March 29 having competed at January’s World Indoor Championships while seven months pregnant.
A ‘traumatic’ time in hospital left her participation in this summer’s outdoor competitions in doubt but the former Stowmarket High School pupil is now feeling refreshed and ready for action.
“I’m a lot better now than a few weeks ago,” said Rednall, speaking ahead of Bowls’ Big Weekend on May 28-31.
“I ended up having a C-section and I was kept in hospital for a week, unable to walk or move.
“It was quite traumatic and I was thinking the outdoor season would be hit and miss.
“But I seem to be alright now and I’m looking forward to returning to the green.
“Nobody has really played outdoors for a while so it will be a bit strange for everyone and a real level playing field.
“You’ll get those who pick the bowls up and it will be as if they’ve played a whole season, but it might take longer for others – there will be a real mixture.”
Rednall’s baby bump did not stop her impressing at the World Indoors, as she came within a whisker of winning a fourth women’s singles title and became the first woman to reach the open singles quarter-finals.
But the lack of a crowd made the experience an unusual one for the Norfolk Bowling Club star, who felt the tournament lacked its usual intensity.
“It just felt like you were playing a practice and it was really hard to concentrate,” she said.
“I still really enjoyed it, it was great to be back playing, but it emphasised how important crowds are.
“I was watching the (World Championship) snooker at the Crucible and they were saying how much of a difference the crowd made – it’s the same in bowls.”
Rednall’s performances this summer will go a long way to determining whether she participates in her second consecutive Commonwealth Games, having won triples bronze in the Gold Coast in 2018.
With England set to enjoy home advantage at Victoria Park next summer, Rednall is determined to secure her place in the final 10-strong squad and continue a proud family link with the event.
“My dad (John) competed in 1994 in Canada and both he and mum were there to watch in 2018, which was really special,” said Rednall.
“Winning a Commonwealth medal is right up there with my proudest achievements and the atmosphere on the Gold Coast was amazing.
“The settings of the green for next year are very similar so hopefully they can replicate it with big stands up, big crowds and get new people into bowls.”
Attracting new and returning bowlers is at the heart of Bowls’ Big Weekend, which will see more than 600 clubs across the country open their doors to put on fun, Covid-secure sessions.
“It’s a fantastic idea,” Rednall said. “I was around the bowls green from a few weeks old, as were my dad and grandma, and it will be really nice for Harry to experience that when he gets a bit older.
“But it’s vital to attract more people into the sport who aren’t from a bowls background and hopefully this will provide those opportunities.”
* Find your nearest participating club at www.bowlsbigweekend.com