BUDDING bowls prospect Alfie Leaton has made his home Swanage debut in the Bournemouth & District Men’s League – aged just 11-years-old.
Alfie, the youngest bowler competing in the league this season, played a leading role in Swans’ 89-65 win over Section Four rivals New Milton.
He teamed up with his coach Max King, Brian Beeston and Gordon Wallis in a 33-7 rink success.
Swanage club secretary Clive Bryceson told the Daily Echo: “Alfie had an excellent game as lead in the match and astounded his much-older opponents who never got over the shock of losing to an 11-year-old.”
The B&D League plays four rinks – making a total of 16 players per team. Alfie’s debut was at Ringwood in April.
Proud dad Steve Leaton, who was also in the victorious Swans line-up, added: “Alfie first showed an interest in bowls when he was seven-years-old.
“He used to come and watch me play and would have a go but the bowls were far too heavy for him.
“We have played a few friendly games against each other and I have not beaten him once indoors.
“Outdoors is a different story, but his time will come. Let’s face it, he has plenty of that.”
Alfie has prospered from Swanage’s commitment to youth players at the club which has set up a bursary fund for youngsters.
They also invested in some junior bowls which Alfie has used in his coaching sessions.
The club has already helped two other youngsters – Ollie Thake and Dale Mason – who have gone on to play in the county’s under-25 team. Ollie is still at Swanage, while Dale now plays for Alexandra Park.
Alfie, who also plays football for Wareham Rangers and his school Wareham St Mary’s, has international ambitions.
“I hope to be able to go further in bowls and would love to play for England one day,” said Alfie.
“When I first had a try at bowls I really liked it because it was very different from any other sport that I had played.
“I liked that it is a calm and relaxing game and that you need to focus and use skill.
“I have also enjoyed meeting the other club members because they are always happy to share their experience and knowledge with me and are really encouraging.”