Team England Squad 2022 – we interview Mark Patrick
How did you first get into bowling and why did you take it up as a sport?
I first got into bowling when I went along to watch my parent bowl at Cotswold Bowl in cheltenham as an 8-year-old. I then learnt there was a YBC on Saturday mornings which my parents took me too and I never looked back.
Who helped you improve over the years, and which do you admire or are inspired by?
I had a couple of good coaches in my YBC, but it wasn’t until I moved to the states at the age of 15 that my bowling really took a turn for the better, I was coached 1-1 by a chap called Larry Wing who took me every Sunday morning for 3 hours to my local centre and worked on everything from footwork to the finished approach. My inspiration was Chris Barnes. I used to play as him on a video game and watch all his matches when growing up, then finally meeting him at Junior Gold in 2008 put the icing on the cake. Great guy!
By 2008 you bowled in the USA Junior Gold in Detroit and Teen Masters in Las Vegas. How was this experience?
Junior Gold and Teen Masters were 2 of the greatest experiences I had as a bowler and got the opportunity to compete in them multiple times. It’s an incredible atmosphere and just wish we could put something like that on in the UK.
A year later it was back to the USA for Junior Gold in Indianapolis and Teen Masters in Vegas but this time you picked up a title, tell us about Maryland?
My Maryland state championship was the greatest achievement I had at junior level and really pushed me to compete more and push myself.
All in all, you played Junior Gold three times, what did it all teach you about you and your bowling?
They taught me how to adjust, stay focused and deal with pressure. They involved bowling 18 games across 3 days over 3 different patterns, then after the cut, 4th day was 12 games over 2 patterns. This really taught me how to deal with endurance when bowling as it became a really long week.
Into 2017 and adults and a big win came again winning the Welsh Open. Did this win re-light the bowling flame for you?
The Welsh Open win most definitely re-lit the flame for me as up to this point I never felt myself at the top level of English Bowling, nor at a good enough level to compete for England. Winning this against mostly Team England Bowlers at the time really pushed me to enter trials that year. I haven’t looked back since.
You made the adult National team in 2018, how was it wear the shirt for the first time?
Incredible. We went to Ireland for the Triple crown and it was the best week away! I was joined by some very experienced Team England bowlers which made the experience even better as they could give me advice on and off the lanes!
Sadly, due to the postponed EMC you have had to withdraw from the Team, gutted is an appropriate word, I guess?
Gutted would be an understatement. Ever since I started bowling it’s been the dream to compete wearing the England Shirt at a major championship. I’ve had success at triple crowns, but nothing would match the pride of bowling a European or World championship for my country. Just have to keep at it, practice hard and make sure I’m selected for the 2023 Europeans!
Which other events will you play this year to keep match fit for any other National team call ups?
I will be bowling most if not all of the ESBT events throughout the year and nationals to keep sharp and ready for any other call ups
When you are not on the lanes, what do you do for work and other interests?
I work and am General Manager of Stroud Bowl which is massively helpful for practice when I need and get to see all tournament bowlers throughout the year!
Baker format is going to feature a lot more in Championships and a different way to prepare for teamplay. Have you bowled baker much?
I’ve not bowled much baker format before, but as always in our sport we have to embrace change, take it in stride and make the best of any formats and situations out in front of us.
Something different now Mark and If in the future you win a massive event and Filmmakers want to do your life story, who would you have play you?
I think I’d have to go for James Spader. He has to be my favourite actor. My favourite series is Blacklist where he plays the main character ‘Raymond Reddington’ perfectly.
Finally, you have experienced USA and UK Youth bowling, travelled, and bowled for your country, what is the best advice you have ever been given and what advice would you give to young bowlers wanting to play for their country?
Keep a level head and try to stay focused on what you need to do. That’s the best advice I’ve ever received and still helps me today. Bowlers wishing to bowl for their country the best advice I could give is NEVER GIVE UP! No matter who’s in front of you, always believe you can beat them and that you’ll get to achieve your goals!
Thank you Mark!
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..