World Championships Bronze medal…Check. European Championships Singles Gold…Check.
Right there is two events that give a lot of points in the UK Tenpin Hall of Fame. In Fact Matty Clayton is now inside the top 50 UK male bowlers of all time. He is also the First Englishman to win singles in the European Mens Championships.
Let that sink in. No other Englishman has EVER won the singles event. Has it sunk in with Matty yet? It was time we found out.
European Champion, has that sunk in yet? Can you also talk us through Singles and how you gave everyone a start before you unleashed your undoubted talent?
European Champion does sound pretty good don’t it?! And I don’t think it will ever sink in!
That singles day…
Well we went in with a game plan to “play it safe” on the fresh as I found it quite tricky personally, so we felt Urethane was this safe option, but with poor shot making and spare shooting after 2 games I found myself about -40 if I can remember? Made a ball change in the 3rd game, and the rest is history! Had 770 for my last 3 and found myself in the top 4, was quite surreal! And to do it with one of my best mates in Jason, it will stick with me forever.
Finals were over far to quickly, I never really felt in control but the guys I was playing against weren’t either! In the Semis i managed to step up and punch my way into final and only just done enough to force Tobias to strike out for the win, he didn’t, I won on the bench!! I’ll take that any day! Ha!
Social Media almost melted in the UK that day. Was the Gold medal validation in your mind for the hard work and sacrifices that went into getting you and the team there?
My phone almost blew up! The support and love was unbelievable, it’s moments like this that make the bowling community in England almost a weird happy dysfunctional family, truly is amazing.
It’s funny, because I had been thinking for a while, “I haven’t done anything or won anything in a long time, then bomb, I done this, crazy.
I know it sounds a bit cheesy, but honestly, probably wouldn’t have been able to do without the guys with me, Mark and Caroline especially, it’s definitely theirs as much as it is mine, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it’s certainly feels worth all the hard work and sacrifices we made.
Although we did not win further medals in Germany, the team spirit looked better than ever. What made this particular England combination so close during the Championships?
Honestly, I don’t know, I guess maybe because we are just all good friends? Adams been my idol and best friend for years, we’ve done loads together! can’t say much more, guy is a legend!
Jason became a best mate and work mate at the same time and I live 5 minutes from him? Pretty much done everything together, wherever we were it was always Danny (Boss/bestmate/landlord) Jason and me…. bit of a no brainier putting us together
I’ve become mates with Dappa over the last few years and we’ve bowled a few team events abroad with the notorious #TeamCamel! And guy is a massive weirdo and I love it! So we get along so well
Cocker! Only got to know Cocker since being selected, but in the build up to the event we tried to bowl a few events together and stuff, might be one of the funniest guys I’ve ever met! Proper got to know him in Munich, and I love him!
And Glen, I’ve known Glen for years, bowed a few times together in the YAC scene, travelled to China with the YACs, I hadn’t seen him much in recent years, but it’s always good catching up Glen, plus he knows hypnosis tricks, how cool?!
Mark, I’ve had experience working with before, so to reconnect wasn’t hard, passionate about bowling, sticks to what he believes in, and just wants the country to do well, wouldn’t have won my medal without him certainly.
Caz, Hahahaha absolute headcase! She’s nuts! But what an incredible job she done! And she’s lovely! For someone who doesn’t have a single clue about bowling, she was bowling every shot with us!
All in all, I think everyone involved loves having fun, we were constantly laughing together, we done everything together every night, just stuck together as a team, we are all here for the same thing, to enjoy it.
Trust me though when it got rocky and serious, we were ready. But I think this is just majorly due to how it was off the lanes. And just want to say thank you again to everyone, I love you all.
We didn’t get the Team Event we all really wanted but considering how hard it was this year, for our first champs together as a team, it wasn’t a bad outing, hope I can represent the country alongside them again!
Where did bowling start for you and who gets a shout out in your rise to current King of Europe?
I started at the age of 11 at AMF Washington! In a little after school league on a Monday night! Joined the YBC a year later or something!
But to be honest, I was just happy bowling the YBC and the odd tournament now and then, it wasn’t until EYC 2008, 3 lads from my YBC made the team (Andrew Robson, Jon Herron and Graham Robertson) so my Great Uncle Arthur took me on a Bowling holiday to Finland, Helsinki, I didn’t even know you could bowl for England, think I would have been 14 at the time!
So I think this was the moment I thought “I want to do this! How cool? Bowling for your country”
I’ll miss out the rocky bit in the middle, but I got help and coaching on the way! And here I am!
The main people I must thank are – Teece Family – mainly Ray on the coaching side, the guy is a sicko, don’t think I’ve ever had a bad session over the years. But the family welcomed me with open arms into the scene, always told me I’m good enough, told me to believe in myself, and always backed my corner. 2nd family. So thank you
Adam Cairns – already mentioned, I’ve been chasing you nearly all my bowling life, another that told me to believe in myself, when we made the team together it was quite emotional, we had talked about it for years. We done it mate.
Brian Micheal – possibly the biggest influence to my mental game in recent years, just changed the way I think on/off the lanes. And his story’s and words will stick with me for a long time. Apparently he managed to teach someone to win with their eyes closed! Say no more!
Andrew Robson – punching holes in balls for a few years now… Great guy, he let me off for murder in the past, think I’ve owed him money nearly half my Bowling life! Appreciate the patience.
Family – They think I’m the best in the world! Supported me all the way, but there’s a man who isn’t around anymore, my Great Uncle Arthur, he spent fortunes on me, because apparently he believed from day one, someone I could never repay, all he ever wanted was to see me wear the England shirt, unfortunately he never got to witness me at major championships, he would have gone mental in Munich, my family would say that my debts probably paid now, I beg to differ he’s the reason I’m still doing it, and will probably never stop, because I owe it too him. Mega cheese I know.
Your first big win came in 2010 when you claimed the BTBA All Events in both YAC and Adult at Romford. Did this win help prove to yourself you could mix it with the Adults at a young age??
My first big win was probably the Junior London International 2010. That Nationals won was pretty cool at the time, I was only 17, but when I look back, it was on a big fat house shot! Could have been anyone! But yeah I guess was great as a 17 year old to beat a lot of senior team felt quite rewarding at the time!
Four years later you put on the England shirt and take World Youth Championships Bronze for the England team in Hong Kong in 2014. Two proud moments with an England Shirt on. What did you take away for this event at the time when you saw the level of competition?
World Youths was such an eye opener, and my first time at a major championships, that event showed just how much I was under prepared against the worlds best, don’t get me wrong we done great for the bronze, and with lads that I call friends for life, but the field at worlds is a different level!! The Asian and American countries are unbelievable!! Apart from that though, amazing trip! Hong Kong is a beautiful place!
Top 50 of all time already Matty, What’s on the horizon for you in terms of upcoming events and what short time goals do you have?
Unfortunately after EMC I need to focus on my life and work at the minute, I’m going to be doing a few events in England, ESBT/WCQ and English Open probably, I’ve been invited by the Team Camel guys to bowl in Switzerland at the Team event that’s there again, pretty cool event! But nothing major probably for the rest of the year! Don’t have the money and time I’m afraid!
It is true to say you are not the only young talented player we have coming through from Youth to the adult team. Why do you think England is still able to produce Champions?
Definitely not, Brandon Roberts is probably the hottest bowler in England right now, that kid is very talented, and such a good guy, he deserves whatever comes his way!
I see a few names from the juniors, obviously Izzy Allen, Austin Taylor, Alex McCarthy, Ki Leighfield, Dan Harding, these are probably the only names I know as they’ve bowled a few adult events this year, and fair play to them! I just hope they get the right guidance and put in the work.
Don’t know what it is? Maybe it’s just natural talent making champions? Or some of these guys are working hard? Either way, we can get some good results time to time, great to see.
Like many bowlers you have a day job to pay the bills and fund the bowling passion. When you are not working or on the lanes, how do you relax and whats on the playlist at the moment?
I am a massive Netflix Binger! I’m a bit of a sloth at times! Love my Xbox! Playing online with mates! Typical young lad that likes going out now and then, Love my music! I’m a huge Hip-Hop/grime fan, but my playlist can range a bit, You’ll catch me listening to Stormzy, don’t mind a bit of rock or indie, arctic monkeys or something! Mind that Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello – Sinorita song is MY JAM!! Love it!
Finally Matty, Well done again for your Gold medal, as someone who came though the Juniors and youth to European stardom. What advice can you give to those kids out there that might one day follow your example?
Honestly, just enjoy it, it really is a special sport, and you must enjoy it as much as you can, forget about the results, they can come, don’t try too hard, kids get disappointed, and I get it, everyone wants to do well, but I’m sure loads can agree that bowling has changed their life, for the good, you’ll need friends for life’s, or even potential girlfriends/wife’s! I wouldn’t have the job I have today without bowling, and I wouldn’t be the man I am today without bowling!
So If you kids really want to do it, practice, get a coach, it ain’t pretty all the time, but when it is…. it’s a beautiful sport. Be patient.
Matty Clayton UK Hall of Fame Information
Information thanks to The UK Tenpin Hall of Fame