A TALENTED youngster from Ayr has wowed the UK ten-pin bowling scene by coming within one pin of breaking a national record.

Forehill Primary pupil Ben Wallace scored 11 strikes out of 12, coming agonisingly close to the perfect score of 300. The odds of an adult scoring 300 are 11,500-to-1 while it is 460-to-1 for seasoned pros.

The youngest Brit to achieve it was Elliot Crosby in London in 2006 when he was 12 years and two months.

Despite only picking up the sport a few years ago, Ben has quickly developed into a major talent.

His exploits saw him win the Juniors competition recently at Murrayfield Indoor Sports Club in Edinburgh for a singles handicap tournament and amazingly, he came second in the adults competition too against professional bowlers, narrowly losing out to James Guthrie, who has bowled for Scotland at international championships.

James was full of praise for the young lad, saying: “Ben should be proud of himself. He started the final strong and won the first match, pushed me to up my game to win the next two and he stuck by me the full way not giving up one bit.

“He played outstanding all day and has a bright future in the sport.”

If he were to lose to anybody, James would probably be his pick. Watching James was what first inspired Ben to get into bowling.

And if anything, it seems the loss inspired him to do even better, as just two days later, was when he came so close to the perfect score.

Ben first went bowling with his dad, Hugh, at the LA Bowl in Ayr, when he was just eight years-old and he watched James playing.

James Claxton, a bowling coach, said to young Ben, “Would you like to learn how to bowl?” and that’s where it all began. Just seven months later Ben was being entered into tournaments through Jedibowling, the local club.

By the end of 2019, Ben was ranked 7th in Scotland for U16s in just his first year playing. Then lockdown struck and Ben was unable to continue his progress. But as restrictions eased he was able to get back into it.

At the end of July, his dad bought him a couple of new 13 pound balls to bowl with, slightly heavier than the 10 pound ones he’d been using before the lockdown and just a few days later he used them to devastating effect in the competition at Murrayfield.

Ben said that his ambition now is to become number one in the U16s, then get picked for the Scottish team, represent Scotland in Europe and then become an internationally recognised player.

He wanted to thank thank James and Julia Claxton, all team mates, staff and parents for all their help and support.