What did you do in your summer holiday?
It is likely many school-teachers are required to stifle a yawn when working their way through the usual responses to this standard September homework assignment.
But those reading Ben Amos’s submission are in for something very different – since during the second half of August the Essex-based 14-year-old is competing in the Bowls England National Finals at the sport’s Victoria Park home in Leamington Spa.
Ben and his Essex County Bowling Club partner Shane Rowney have won their way through to the latter stages of the Under 25 pairs competition where they face hopefuls from 33 other counties in a competition starting on Monday August 29th.
Ben’s Mum Jo takes up the story:
“Ben started playing just before lockdown,” she said. “His Grandad Alan plays at the Essex County club in Westcliff-on-Sea and Ben joined the cadets section alongside his two cousins.
“Because of COVID he didn’t get to play competitive games until the end of last summer then he played indoors in one of the leagues.
“Shane who is about 22 then approached Ben and asked him if he wanted to enter the outdoor Under 25s to get some experience and they were delighted when they won their first game.
“The county finals were held at their home club; they never thought they had any chance of winning but viewed it as good experience but they managed to win on the last end.”
A trip to Victoria Park is something club bowlers across the country dream of making and Jo said Ben’s achievement has especially delighted his Grandad.
She said: “We’re all super-proud to be going to the National Finals but in particular Alan is absolutely thrilled. He has played bowls for decades and to see his Grandson get his county badge so young means so much to him. It is quite funny to think he could have another ten years as an Under 25!
“We’re all excited and nervous in equal measure. We went to Leamington to watch the finals of the Men’s competition in the Commonwealth Games a few weeks ago and seeing the green where Ben will bowl really brought it home to us.”
Jo said that bowls has given her son a sporting interest which he has really taken to and went on to thank his club for being so welcoming.
“Ben has never been a sporty lad who plays football but he loves bowls and has been playing three times a week through the summer holidays,” she said. “Everyone at the club has been so supportive and welcoming and they are very excited to have such a young player doing well.
“He is a bit nervous but there is absolutely no pressure. He went into the county semi-final and final thinking it was just about getting some experience and we were all stunned – in a good way – when Ben and Shane won as they beat a pair which included a much more experienced bowler who has played for England.”
After a preliminary round bye, Essex’s Ben and Shane face Derbyshire in Round One on Tuesday August 30th.
Tickets to the National Finals start at just £4 for adults and £1 for Under 21s offer a full day of top-class sporting action. Tickets increase to £5.50 adults and £1.50 Under 21s at weekends. Event passes are available and all tickets are cheaper in advance.
Please note: U16s must be accompanied by an adult. Under 3s enter free of charge.