BRITAIN'S only professional female ten-pin bowler has been kicked out of the US after being skittled by a visa problem.

Verity Crawley, 26, is the only British woman who competes in the PWBA (Professional Women's Bowling Association) league in America.

She has lived there for eight years but has now had to return to the UK after her new visa application was denied.

Verity, who is from Bournemouth, was ranked sixth in the world at the end of 2019 bowling season.

The 2020 season was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic and she was looking forward to the start of the new season next week.

But she had to reapply for her athlete's visa which was refused by the US government, meaning she has had to leave the country.

Last year Donald Trump made it harder for foreign workers to get visas because of the impact the pandemic was having on the American job market.

Verity said: "I was shocked the application was denied, especially as I had it before and I'm more qualified now than I was three years ago when I got the first one.

"There was no mention of Covid in the denial letter, but there are more travel bans and visa bans in place at the moment, I guess it's one less person to have in America.

"I've hired a lawyer to do the application but it's still not guaranteed and there's no real timeline.

"It could take three to six months, or it could take longer with everything happening in the US at the moment."

Verity will miss at least the first three professional bowling events of the season that is due to start next week.

In a double blow, the UK lockdown means she cannot visit any bowling alleys to practice.

She added: "Being unable to train is going to make it very difficult to stay at the top of my game."

Verity is now back home with her parents, but despite not seeing them in over a year she hasn't been able to hug them yet as she has to

self-isolate for ten days.

Verity started bowling aged five when her parents signed her and her brother up to a youth bowling club in Poole, Dorset.

By age 12 she was representing England internationally and in 2012 she moved to America to study sports business management at Webber International University in Florida.

She played for her college team, helping them win three national championships.

After university she spent a year competing as an amateur before becoming a professional bowler in 2017, alongside coaching at a university in Georgia.

She has consistently ranked in the top 20 in the PWBA since then, but missing the start of the new season will push her down the rankings.

She added: "I started bowling when I was five and just got hooked.

"I had access to some very good coaches and developed quickly because I had that help. The bowling centre was my second home, my friends stopped asking if I was free at the weekend because they knew I would be competing somewhere around the country.

"Bowling is huge in America, so much bigger than here.

"After uni I took a year competing as an amateur before I decided to go professional.

"I was surprised I was competing against some of the best in the world, my bowling idols, and I was either beating them or up there with them and realised it could be a career for me.

"Every event has a prize fund, obviously the money is normally higher for a major event. For a regular event it's normally about $10,000 and if you're competing on TV there's usually endorsements and sponsorships at the top level."