JAMIE-LEA Winch is relishing a return to competitive bowls as she eyes a third Commonwealth Games appearance at a venue which would offer true home advantage.

The 30-year-old, who took home triples bronze from Delhi in 2010 and won pairs silver in Glasgow four years later, can advance her case for a Team England place at Birmingham 2022 with impressive performances this summer.

The lawn bowls competition will not be held in the second city, instead taking place at Victoria Park in Leamington Spa – a venue Winch knows like the back of her hand having grown up in nearby Rugby.

Now based in Sapcote, Leicestershire, and soon to begin her defence of the national singles title she won in 2019, the two-time Commonwealth medallist is one of 16 bowlers pre-selected for next summer’s Games – a number which will be whittled down to 10 in the coming months.

“We’re so excited to be back on the greens,” said Winch, speaking ahead of this weekend's Bowls Big Weekend.

“You can’t replicate competition and it feels like a level playing field – we’ve all had our batteries recharged and we’re raring to go.

“For us bowlers, the Commonwealths are the pinnacle. You really feel that Team England buzz with athletes across all sports and you feed off that atmosphere and each other’s energy.

“Next year would be a proper home games for me, the number of times I’ve played at Leamington, and being picked would be an honour.

“I would particularly look forward to seeing friends and family cheering me on. My partner has never seen me represent England at that level so it would be fantastic to have that opportunity.”

Winch’s singles title two years ago saw her complete a hat-trick in the discipline, as she added to a collection which includes two junior singles titles and two-wood glory in 2017.

Competitions have been at a premium since but memories of her most recent success – alongside countryside walks with fiancé David and puppy Frankie – have helped sustain the Kingscroft Bowls Club ace over lockdown.

“It felt amazing to win it,” said Winch, who combines her bowls exploits with working in a bank in Leicester.

“It still makes me smile now just thinking about it. It’s something I’d always aspired to do.

“I wasn’t thinking about the ‘hat-trick’ in the final but they mentioned it when I was lining up to collect the trophy. I was a bit surprised but it was a nice feeling!”

Winch’s bowls journey began when she was encouraged to take part by a neighbour and her own path is evidence the sport is suitable for all ages.

With around 500 clubs across the country set to host fun, Covid-secure sessions over the Bowls Big Weekend, Winch hopes the initiative could prove the first step in a boom in participation.

“I’ll never forget my first club game, when I was 10 and played against a 90-year-old,” she said.

“It’s truly a sport for everyone, it’s very inclusive and I’d urge people to get involved and give it a go.”

Find your nearest participating club at www.bowlsbigweekend.com