Rhys is the pride of our alley after international call-up

Rhys Bean has been selected for England.
Rhys Bean has been selected for England.
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They say practice makes perfect and that has certainly been the case for Rhys Bean.

The 15 year-old Thomas Deacon Academy student from Walton has spent 15 hours a week for the last few years down at his local tenpin bowling alley in a bid to reach the top of his game.

And it’s paid off with an England team selection.

Last week Rhys was informed of his selection for the England Under 16 team to take part in the Triple Crown tournament against Ireland, Scotland and Wales in Dublin at the end of August and naturally he’s thrilled to bits.

“I’m really chuffed. It’s been hard work over the last few years but at last I’ve achieved my ambition of making the England team,” he said.

To realise that ambition Rhys had to travel the length and breadth of the country playing in seven tournaments involving the best young bowlers in the country.

Rhys had to finish in the top 20 overall from those tournaments to make the next stage of international qualification, which he did with ease.

Then it was down to Poole in Dorset for the final part of the trial.

There he had to play 16 games with the top six earning England places.

And Rhys, who plays for the Cambridgeshire Under 18 side, claimed third place to secure an England call-up.

“I first started bowling when I was seven,” recalls Rhys. “I went along to the AMF Bowl at Bretton with my dad and was pretty good at it. Somebody spotted me and invited me to join the youth bowling club there.

“It all snowballed from there.”

Last year Rhys bowled the perfect 300 game at AMF Bowl, which is a house record for a junior, and he is also the proud owner of their junior hi-series record of 736 for three games.

This year he won the Lincolnshire Open singles and doubles in Scunthorpe and is currently ranked number one in the UK Under 16 rankings and he’s number 10 in the Under 18 listings.

“All the hard work is starting to pay off. I’m making good progress through the rankings and my next aim is to qualify for the 2016 European Youth Championships in Iceland,” added Rhys.

But success hasn’t come cheap. Equipment and travelling costs are mounting and he could really do with some financial assistance.

The Dublin trip in August will set him back £1,000 and bowling balls, of which Rhys has nine, cost £350.

“I’ve got a little bit of sponsorship from Peterborough SportsAid and from DHL but could certainly do with some more,” said Rhys.

Anyone prepared to help can contact his dad Steve on 07592 670763.