Hargham teen aims to strike it big on England’s ten-pin squad

Alex Pates, from Hargham, has been awarded a �500 Gifted and Talented grant from Breckland Council.

Alex Pates, from Hargham, has been awarded a �500 Gifted and Talented grant from Breckland Council. Picture: STUART PATES - Credit: Archant

A teenage ten-pin bowler is hoping to strike it big this year by making it onto England's national team.

Alex Pates, from Hargham, has been awarded a �500 Gifted and Talented grant from Breckland Council.

Alex Pates, from Hargham, has been awarded a �500 Gifted and Talented grant from Breckland Council. Picture: STUART PATES - Credit: Archant

And Alexander Pates' dreams are now a step closer thanks to a £500 'gifted and talented grant' from Breckland Council to help cover equipment, competition and practice costs.

Alexander, from Hargham, said he had been working hard towards his goal and every little bit of support helped.

He said: 'Last year, I travelled around 6,000 miles, competing in events around the country.

'I love bowling but with the cost of equipment and overnight stays, it's a lot of money to find.

'My dream for 2017 is to play for England and be selected to play in the European championships.

'I'm determined to practice at every opportunity to achieve this, but that means travelling and paying for a lane as I can't practice at home or in the park'.

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Alexander started bowling competitively when he was just eight, joining Norwich Youth Bowling Club and being inspired by the older bowlers there.

At age 10, he was selected to join the under-18 team at the junior nationals, where he gained a silver medal.

He was three times part of the winning team at the National Inter-Counties Tournament, and narrowly missed out on a place on the England team at the latest selection event, finishing as one of the top 10 ten-pin bowlers.

The money, which Alexander applied for, will go towards covering the costs of hiring a lane, bowling balls, wipes, sprays and shoes, and will allow him to put in more hours of practice at his bowling alley in Bowthorpe.

Philip Cowen and William Smith, Breckland Council ward members for All Saints and Wayland, said in a joint statement: 'The costs associated with competing at such a high level can present a real barrier for young people, making it difficult for them to achieve their potential.

'We were very impressed by Alexander's many achievements, his considerable determination and the passion he has for his sport. The award is well deserved and we wish him every success in achieving his dream in 2017.'

Breckland offers a range of grant schemes that support both individuals and community projects. For more, contact the Norfolk Community Foundation on 01603 623958, or email grants@norfolkfoundation.com.

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