Blackburn's tenpin club is on a roll

Club member Utreia Prior

Club member Utreia Prior

First published in Sport Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Sports reporter

THEY have a four-time world champion as president, a number of England internationals among its ranks and are one of the best up-and-coming clubs in the country.

But Blackburn Youth Tenpin Bowling Club could be considered of as one of the town’s best kept sporting secrets.

The club, based at Bowlplex, has only been going for six months but already has a number of talented youngsters among its ranks.

Now the club is looking to get more local youngsters to take up the sport.

For despite its rapid success, the majority of players are ‘imports’ – travelling to the Blackburn centre from across the North West.

Manchester, Liverpool and St Helens are all represented among their numbers although Accrington’s own Becky Daly is among the top players at the club having already played for England at junior level.

“It is quite often the case that you have a wonderful facility on your own doorstep and you don’t use it,” said head coach Dave Harman, who himself travels from St Helens for weekly coaching sessions.

“Tenpin Bowling is a great sport to get involved in. Everyone has played it but probably don’t realise it can be played on a competitive level.

“Most youngsters involvement in tenpin bowling is through family days out or birthday parties which is fine but it is great to play at a competitive level.”

The club was set up six months ago when Zara Giles – a four time tenpin bowling world champion – suggested starting a club in Blackburn.

Her husband Matt, who is also an England international, is based at the pro shop in Blackburn.

“Zara is a legend of the game and she thought it would be a good idea to set up club here,” added Harman, whose own daughter Harriet is showing signs of being a talent of the future. “It is great to have her as president of the club to help rise our profile.

“She is very supportive and shows a genuine interest in the club which is great for the players.”

The club has players aged eight to 18-years-old and include Curtis Proctor, from Manchester, who is also a part of the England junior set-up.

It already has won team and individual trophies across the county and the aim now is to get more members in to the county set-up – and more players from across East Lancashire player.

“We are not just looking for children from Blackburn and Darwen to come and join, it would be great to see other areas of East Lancashire represented.

“We just need to get the word out there but our success is certainly helping.”

But it is not just churning out talented players – it’s all about creating an interest.

He added: “We had two lads from Blackburn who were watching one of our coaching sessions and they were very interested,” said Harman who is also a coach for Lancashire.

“For us, that kind of interest is what it is all about.”

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