A YOUNG talent from Ilminster Bowling Club has enjoyed a tremendous year in the sport and hopes to continue his achievements in 2024.

Oli Collins has been making waves in 2023 with his remarkable achievements in the sport.

He enjoyed success with the England Under 18 side as well as an individual trophy haul at the Aviva National Finals.

Speaking to England Bowls, Collins said: "Winning the National Junior Pairs with Liam White was a dream come true. Reaching the National Finals for any bowler is an ambition, winning a national title is something most can only dream of.” 

Reflecting on his efforts at the 2023 Aviva National Finals, Oli stated: “Coming away from the Aviva National Finals with a national title and a finalist’s plate in the same year was a memorable moment. 

“I hope it has inspired someone to give bowls a go and for the Somerset junior players to enter the National Competitions, as it does prove dreams can come true.” 

Collins began bowling in Ilminster at the age of 7, guided by his Grandad, known as ‘Papa Smurf’.

The connection to Ilminster Bowls Club, with its history of nurturing talent, inspired Oli to follow in the footsteps of international bowlers like Louis Ridout.  

“Luckily my friends supported me in playing the sport and I was able to play bowls alongside tennis and hockey,” he added in his interview with England Bowls.

“I had to make a decision about which to pursue and commit to and chose bowls as it was something that I could enjoy with my Grandad, who I was extremely close to.” 

Looking ahead, Oli has set his sights on representing England in the U25 and Men’s teams.

He said: “Once you have had the opportunity to represent your country, you want it badly again, and this is something I would aim for in the future.” 

“Hard work and hours of practise are the only way to succeed and grasping any opportunity to play with and watch the best is vital to develop in any sport. 

“I view every game as a learning opportunity and always try and take something away from every match. Ultimately, you need to play with and against the best to aspire to be the best.”

In other news from Ilminster Bowling Club, they recently held another successful open evening.

The club said: "Another successful night with another 10 people attending our opening evening.

"A great opportunity to play bowls and meet new people from across the Ilminster area.

"This ends our open days for 2023 but a successful indoor open taster sessions this year with 55 new members coming from these events."