Team England 2022 Squad – we interview Natasja Ailes
How did you get into bowling?
I always used to head down to the bowling alley and watch my mum go. Then one night I started crying because she wouldn’t take me, and so she took me down on a Saturday morning and it started from there.
Who has helped you get to the high standard you are at now?
I’ve had a number of different coaches throughout the years I’ve played. Probably Stevie T has helped me the most.
BTBA Nationals Champ and NAYBC Singles winner in the last few years then Covid hit. You bounced back though winning the Team England trials in 2021. How did you cope with the downtime of the pandemic and how did you come back so strong in the trials?
I think my mental health took a bit of a toll throughout the pandemic. But eventually when I could start bowling again things felt really good and I started to believe in myself a bit more, so the confidence helped me to bounce back!
Your best result so far must be your Gold at the European Youth Championships. How was it winning Gold for your country?
it’s honestly the most incredible feeling. At the time I couldn’t even bring into words the emotions that were going through my mind. I’m hoping I can do the same with the Team this year!
The EWC delayed a little this year, what will you do this year to prepare for laces up for your country again?
I think it has given me a lot more opportunities to practice. Because of covid I wasn’t able to get on the lanes much during the pandemic period. But now the bowls have started to open up a bit more so I can train.
When you are not on the lanes, what do you do for a career and hobbies outside of bowling?
I am a nursing student, but I’m also working at Bournemouth Airport alongside studying, and I don’t really have much time for anything else if I’m honest.
What goals do you have in bowling?
To be honest, I just want to be able to medal in European tournaments. Potentially when I have achieved what I want to in Europe there is the possibility of PWBA, but I know I’ve got a lot of work to do to get there.
Which bowlers do you most admire in the sport?
Probably both Verity Crawley and Issy Allen. I’ve bowled with Verity ever since I had started bowling, and I’ve just always looked up to her. And I admire Issy’s dedication and how she has moved to the US at a young age, I wish I had the confidence to do that.
Some training coming this year on String machines with our new sponsor QubicaAMF, Have you played on these much yet?
Unfortunately I haven’t really had the chance to, but I’d like to at some point, just to experience the difference.
Baker Team events look likely to feature a lot in coming championships and team play will be important, have you played baker and as a singles and team winner which do you prefer?
I have played baker in the final 5 challenge match at the Weber cup, and then 4 man team in EYC, and to be honest I think I prefer the 4 man team, as much as I don’t like to think about it, it gives everyone a little less pressure if they throw a bad shot, as the team have their frames to potentially cover the error.
Long trips to events, what music gets played on your travels?
Latin and reggaeton music is probably the most I listen to, which is ironic because I can’t really speak any Spanish 😂
Finally Natasja, Who plays you in a hollywood movie for your gold medal and if you could play Pro Celebrity bowling with anyone, who would it be?
Really tough question, I don’t think I have an answer to be honest. And as I’m a massive Tottenham fan I think I’d love to play with Hueng- Min Son and Harry Kane
Thank you Natasja!
We have invited all of the Adult Team England squad for 2022 to tell us a little more about themselves, and will publish them all weekly. You can read all of our athlete’s interviews on the Athlete Interviews page here..