BOWLS: He's ahead of his time
WESTBURY teenager Aidan Wicks is preparing to leap in to international action after a chance meeting led to him earning a place in the England U21 short mat bowls squad.
The 14-year-old, who lives on Hackney Way and plays for Westbury Blue Circle, was at a tournament in Bristol in August and ended up being drawn to play England U21 coach Alan Berry.
After impressing the national coach at trials at the Bridgman Bowls Club in Bedfordshire, Wicks was eventually picked to represent his country and the youngster was delighted to break into the international fold – the first Wiltshire player to do so.
“I hadn’t been playing a lot of bowls for a little while because I’d been concentrating on playing cricket for Westbury U15s but when the end of the summer came, I went to a tournament in Bristol,” said Wicks, who is a pupil at Matravers School.
“I spoke to Alan Berry and he was telling me about the England U21s and the trials that were coming up – then, I ended up playing him and I was really nervous about that but it went well and he said I should definitely go to the trials.
“I think I did myself proud there and then I got a letter saying that I’d got in last week.
“I thought ‘have I really just done that?’.
“I’m really excited about it and I’ll be playing my first match at the end of November.
“Before that, I’ve got a guest match for Somerset u18s but I really can’t wait to get started with England.”
Wicks is no stranger to mixing it with players much older than him and says that he isn’t fazed by the prospect of representing his country at U21 level.
The teenager added: “I’ve always played against adults so it doesn’t bother me at all.
“I was the third youngest at the trials and there was a boy who was only 10 years old.
“I actually usually get more nervous when I’m playing against other youths because I probably don’t know as much about them, so we’ll see how that goes.”