A TEN-PIN bowler from South Tyneside is hoping to turn his hobby into a career after being selected for the England team.
Matthew Clayton is going to represent his country in Hong Kong at the World Youth Bowling Championships.
The 20-year-old, of Hedworth, Jarrow, is also up for a title a little closer to home.
He’s been nominated for Sporting Excellence in the Pride of South Tyneside Awards.
Matthew, a technician at MFA Bowl in Newcastle, was put forward for the accolade, sponsored by BT South Tyneside, by his grandad, James Taroni.
Mr Taroni said: “Matthew has worked very hard to achieve the standard he is at. He has already represented England at this level in tournaments in Germany and China, as well as the successful Durham County team, and he has now been selected to compete in Hong Kong in August.
“Matthew has bowled several maximum scores already and won several tournaments. Ten-pin bowling has featured in past Olympics and a campaign is underway to have it re-instated.
“My family and I are very proud of Matthew, as are his many friends and work colleagues.”
Matthew, who has been bowling for 10 years, first got into the sport after family trips to the bowling alley. He said: “My parents saw an advertisement for an under-18s tournament at the bowling alley and put me forward for it. That’s how it started really and I just loved it, so I wanted to carry it on.
“I’m playing for England at the minute and going to Hong Kong for the world championships in August. I’m excited and nervous.
“I’ve been training for two years for this, so it’s a big relief to know that it’s all paid off.
“I’d love to be able to bowl professionally.”
“I didn’t even know my grandad was nominating me.
“It’s really nice of him, and he’s always bragging about me and telling me how proud he is. He’s great.”
Entries are now closed.
The awards ceremony will be held at the Quality Hotel in Witney Way, Boldon Colliery, on the evening of Thursday, June 12.