Youth got the better of experience as Bicester’s Brandon King, 13, saw off Thame’s Ron Slater, 87, in the preliminary round of the Oxfordshire two-wood singles competition on Sunday.
King, who has been bowling since he was eight and is a regular for the county’s under 25 side, was in great form as he triumphed 16-8 at Oxford City & County.
However, Brandon, a pupil at Bicester Community College, met his match in the first round as he lost 17-4 to Banbury Borough’s Keith Holloway.
Brandon’s dad, Jason, a member of Headington Bowls Club, admitted his son had been a bit wary when he was paired up with Oxfordshire legend Slater.
“It’s the first time Brandon has entered the competition and when the draw was made I think he was a bit nervous because Ron is still a good player,” said Jason, 42.
“But once it got under way he was fine. It’s not very often that a 13-year-old takes on an 87-year-old.
“I think it shows bowls is no longer an old man’s sport.”
“There’s a great deal of concentration needed in bowling.
“A normal game can last for three hours. Sunday’s game was short, it only lasted 45 minutes.”
Bowls runs in the King’s blood.
Jason’s father Anthony King (69) and Brandon’s other grandfather, Michael Davies (68) are both keen bowlers.
And it was their enthusiasm that first sparked Brandon’s interest and that of his younger brother Lucas (ten) whom he has already played alongside in the under 25s side.
Jason added: “I don’t think we feed them on anything different – they watched me play and thought they would have a try at it.”
Slater, who has been bowling on and off for 37 years, said: “I’ve never faced anyone so young, but I don’t think it was anything to do with age.
“I thought he played well. I can see him going on to greater things – I think his dad, who’s a good bowler, will see to that.
“I first started bowling in the mid-1960s. I love it.
“I keep myself fit by doing my exercises each morning.”