Elliot Crosby becomes the youngest player in the UK to shoot 300



    AMF Purley in South London, England

    2006-01-07ElliotCrosby300.jpg Barry Eason, tournament manager of the Surrey county trials, reports that 12-year-old Elliot Crosby rolled the youngest 300 in the United Kingdom on January 7, 2006 at AMF Purley in South London, England.

    "The county trials are being held every year to qualify to play for your region in the National County Championships", said Barry. "The trials were sanctioned and the British Tenpin Bowling Association has all the details. I have no reason to suspect the 300-game will not be sanctioned. It could have been the first perfecto rolled in sanctioned play in the UK for the year as well."

    "Ell" accomplished the feat in the sixth game at the age of 12 years, two months and ten days. He beat previous record holder Rhys Parfitt by more than a year. "Rhys was 13 years and four months when he rolled the 300 at the London international in 1994," Barry added.

    "Elliot rolled his perfect game with an "Ell" (Eurostorm II). The young chap started bowling in 2000, so its six years this year. " Barry has forwarded a little synopsis of the bowling career and the event Elliot's father has sent to him and we hope you will enjoy reading it.

    Elliot John Crosby - from zero to 300 in six years
    By Lee Crosby

    Elliot started bowling in January 2000 at a friend's birthday party held at Lloyds Lanes Raynes Park. It was obvious that he loved the day and on the notice board there was a flyer about the Raynes Park YBC, so in a fit of madness a Mr. Eason was telephoned to see if Elliot could join. In February Elliot (Ell) joined the YBC and 2 weeks later got his first bowling ball from "Uncle Buck" (Geoff that is. no relation).

    In May of that year we got a somewhat tentative phone call from "Mr. Eason of the YBC" enquiring if we would allow Ell to bowl at the UK Nationals. Thinking it would be at Tolworth, or somewhere not too far away we (Mum + Dad) said "yeah no problem", in the next sentence the bombshell was dropped "it's in Nottingham over the bank holiday". Oh well, in for a penny (soon to escalate wildly) etc. etc.

    Nothing was expected in that first year, but to our surprise we won something, and something that has always been very dear. Ell was awarded the "Encouragement Award", his first trophy! Something else happened over that weekend too, the YBC Bug bit Ell. This is an affliction that has various side effects, namely the bowlers get very focused on what they want to achieve, and the parents hemorrhage money at an ever increasing rate as the years progress!

    The rest of 2000 saw us do a few tournaments and get some nice results, some more bowling balls, and we returned to Nottingham in 2001. Ell bowled with determination in a much older YBC, only Cydney Holton keeping him company in the lower age groups, but finished up with the Pee Wee Boys singles title and the All Events as well. This was getting serious!! So we moved up a weight to 12lb balls and went from 2 to 5!

    2002 started off with the Wolverhampton Jr. Open where Ell was invited to bowl with some of the "bigger bowlers" of the club, he'd obviously earned himself some respect. They won the team event, and Ell also won the Pee Wee singles and All Events for good measure.

    Again he returned to Nottingham for the Nationals, this year bowling with Michael Walker (next age group up) in the doubles. That year Ell won the Pee Wee singles and All Events, and thanks to a marvelous performance from Michael they won the doubles as well. A brilliant year and that was Ell totally hooked into tenpin bowling.

    2003 saw a move up to Bantams for the Nationals and also Geoff Buck became Ell's coach. Ell became a permanent member of the Surrey U14 squad where they won the title, and he secured first place in the British Junior Open in a tense final with Charlie Miller.

    2004 saw Ell at the SOE again where in previous years he had attained medal positions, this year being no exception as in Bantam he won second in the singles and first in the All Events. There were other successes in that year, Tolworth 4+1, Nationals first in Singles and All Events, plus the same in the Wolver Hampton Junior Open.

    But there were misses too and it was becoming apparent that a degree of frustration was setting in, so we moved up a weight to 14lb on the advice of Geoff, some saying a little early, but we persevered. November 2004 saw Elliot go to Ireland (after much barracking and bullying from Mike Sykes!!) with the new balls. An eye opener for all of us, but Ell managed runner up to a very worthy winner in the person of Jake Daggett from Leeds. The new balls had worked fine but the mental side of the game needed a bit of attention. We were looking for a pro shop that sold mental maturity and bigger arms! Didn't find one…. so Geoff got more grey hairs instead!!

    Before Ireland in 2004 two things had become very obvious. Firstly to achieve his full potential Elliot needed a total re-equip, some serious coaching, more league bowling at other centers and to travel to as many tournaments as possible. Out of the blue an old colleague and friend, Denis Healy of DCH Marketing & Sales, offered a sponsorship package that made this affordable. So Geoff got a rapid order and got all the stuff ready for Ireland.

    With the new gear that proved a point in Ireland we looked forward to 2005. The year started well with Ell gaining top position at the South of England. Other tourneys went well culminating with the Nationals where Elliot gained first place in the singles and all Events, and also winning the Welsh Open, which was a great weekend. Shame we couldn't have done the Scottish as well.

    His average scores were remaining good and showing a marked improvement in consistency, so the move up a weight had worked. In 2005 we traveled about a bit going to the Adult Nationals with Peter Lams' team, bowling in the Morecambe tournament and also the Leeds Doubles. Elliot gained a lot of experience, won or got placed in some good events, and bowled with some great bowlers of a similar age.

    Chris Lam, Jake Daggett, Charlie Miller, Andy Sykes; who are now all friends and not just competitors, there is a big difference there and made some lasting friendships, until they know about this! For the last 2 seasons Ell has bowled with Sarah Overall in a Friday league, but more of that later.

    2005 ended well with good results at Norwich, first place again at Sunderland, and first place at Wolver Hampton with a 205 average. In addition to that Ell also won the Irish Open, which he had set his heart on doing. So Ell had won the Welsh, Irish, EJO, and UK Nationals in the same year. We were willing to go to the Scottish, but it didn't happen.

    Then we went to Purley for the Surrey Trials. The trials were for the U19's, YAC's and Adults, so when you are only 12 years old, you don't go there expecting to win. In fact we had thought about not doing the event, but Barry would have not been impressed. I am very glad we did!!

    There was no pressure…until Ell put the bowling balls on the ball return to start bowling. Then every parent knows what happens. The eyes narrow, the pace quickens and sooner or later there will be tears! The first 4 games weren't bad, but the 200's weren't coming, so Mr. Grumpy started. The fifth game before lunch wasn't bad, but there was an element of frustration boiling up.

    Back to Sarah Overall. Fortunately, Sarah was on the same pair of lanes and having bowled with Ell for a couple of seasons she knows when to talk to him. No one knows the exact words used, but half way through game 5 she settled Ell down and he got into a routine. Then there was lunch.

    Presumably during lunch the little grey cells were working and a relaxed and happy Ell came out to bowl for game 6. The rest is now history, and who knows how long that will be for and what caused it?

    It may have been the fact that Peter Lam said a while ago not to hook it so much (we have been bowling a tighter line recently), it may have been that Geoff has been saying the same thing for a while too. It may have been that Sarah said exactly the right thing at the right time.

    All I can say is that two years ago when Ell posted his top score on the helsbels website and saw that Matt Hann bowled 300 at 13, he said to me very quietly. "I wanna beat that". I guess that shows a certain kind of determination, which can sometimes manifest itself in a "tantrum" like outburst.

    Those moments happen and probably always will, if anyone knows a "fool proof" way of stopping them please pass on that info very quickly!! I have a sneaky suspicion that a 180 will be regarded as "crap" from now on, in which case I will be seeking sponsorship from Bells distillery!!

    If there is time and space I reckon a few thankyous are required. Firstly everyone at Raynes Park YBC, Barry E for realizing Ell's potential very early on and sticking around, all Ell's mates who bowl there, and the staff for looking after him on the odd occasion I am not there.

    Also all his buddies at Tolworth, it always amazes me how much difference a couple of miles can make! Denis @ DCH for sending a lifeline to a sinking ship, and his constant interest in what Ell has achieved. Thanks to Andy Penny, for a very worthwhile CAT session, some useful advice and many a constructive comment.

    Geoff Buck for many hours of trying to bang sense into Ell's brain, emergency ball repairs and drilling, and all the hours of coaching in the last couple of years. Big thanks to Mike Sykes for being Ell's mentor/coach at so many distant tourneys, some Mike has enjoyed and many he hasn't.

    Last and by no means least, to Sarah for saying whatever you did say to Ell at Purley, and Vicki and Karen for the tears, the miles, the songs and the laughs. And finally to the whole YBC movement. You all know why, it creates a fraternity and a friendship that is second to none.