Bowls: Boy, 7, wins Wales U21s short mat squad call-up

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Seven-year-old short mat bowls player, Hari, from Trimsaran
Image caption,
Hari will represent Wales against England on 28 March

A seven-year-old boy has been selected to represent Wales in bowls - only months after picking up the sport.

Hari Proctor is thought to be the youngest player to make the Wales under-21 short mat bowls squad and will play against England later in March.

He follows in the footsteps of his father, Kieran Proctor, of Trimsaran, Carmarthenshire, who plays for the senior team.

Selector Gethin Edwards said: "His natural ability is fantastic."

Hari first tried the game when he went along to a match in which his father was playing for Trimsaran, five months ago.

Mr Proctor said: "He's a natural. He wanted to do it all himself. He bowls as if he's done it for years. He analyses everybody's technique."

He took up the sport and was spotted by Wales selectors, who invited him along to a trial before giving him the call-up.

Image caption,
Hari's father says he is "constantly trying to make himself better"

Welsh selector Mr Edwards, who is also vice-chairman of Carmarthenshire Short Mat Bowling Association, said Hari's selection was a "big achievement".

"A lot of the players are 15 or over. I don't believe there's been anyone as young as Hari in the U21s squad before. He's got plenty of years left him. I'd say his father has to look out."

Image caption,
Hari's father, Kieran Proctor, says it is "nice to see him doing so well"

Hari's mother, Louise, said it had been a shot in the arm for his self-esteem.

"He's not the most confident of children but it's definitely helped him with his confidence," she said. "I think this is his sport for life."

South African roots

Short-mat bowls is an indoor variation of the lawn game, played on a 45ft (13.7m) x 6ft (1.82m) roll-down carpet with full-size bowls.

While the origin of short mat bowls is uncertain, folklore suggests it may have its roots in Wales.

It is believed the game was first played by two South Africans living in south Wales who became fed up with the wet climate and not being able to play bowls outdoors, according to the Welsh Short Mat Bowls Association.

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