Mr Caress, Deputy Headteacher of Ambergate, returned home from the World Invitation events in Hong Kong and China with a gold and bronze medal.
These prestigious events, hosted jointly by the Hong Kong Lawn Bowls Training Centre and Shenzhen Zhong Ti Shi Dai International Sports Development Company, see countries from all over the world compete in three tournaments. The tour starts in Hong Kong before heading into China to compete in Zhuhai and Shenzhen.
Mr Caress, who plays for Lincolnshire, lined up in a fours rink with Jason Parkinson (Lancashire), Mark Plume (Hertfordshire) and Robert Stirling (Lancashire).
Mr Caress has international experience having previously won three medals, including two golds, at the 2015 European Championships in Israel. However, the 27-year-old described the trip to the Far East as a real test of your ability to adapt. He said, “the tournaments require you to play both indoors and outdoors on surfaces that are different to the UK. On our way to winning gold in Zhuhai, we played the group stages outdoors and then progressed indoors for the knockouts”.
On the way to winning gold, Mr Caress’s rink was unbeaten. In the group stages they defeated Zimbabwe, Malaysia, Hong Kong and drew with Australia. In the quarter-final they beat Malaysia before winning on an extra-end to beat Macau in the semi-final. This set up an all-England final in which Mr Caress’s rink won to claim gold!
Mr Caress also secured a bronze medal in the Tiger Bowls event in Hong Kong. Wins against South Africa, Australia, Malaysia (senior team) and China was enough to see the rink through to the semi-finals despite defeats to South Korea and Zimbabwe. In the semi-finals Mr Caress’s rink faced a Malaysian side made up of their talented youngsters. Malaysia came through as winners and progressed while England settled for bronze.
The young Malaysian team made such a great impression on the England players, including Mr Caress. He said, “we have to give our young players every opportunity as they are the future of the game. The attitude, commitment and ability of the young Malaysian team was outstanding. We wanted to recognise that and do what we could to support their future development”.
During the presentation evening at the closing ceremony, the England players donated their prize money to the young Malaysian team. This was described by Bowls England as a demonstration of great kindness.
The total medal haul in the Far East resulted in England’s best ever success in these events. England men won a clean sweep of three golds and the England ladies secured two bronzes.