A TEENAGE bowls star from Port Glasgow made his television debut after scoring a place in the final of a top national competition.

Port High pupil Stewart McAlees, 16, made it to the climax of the prestigious Scottish Young Indoor Bowlers Association (SYIBA) Young Masters on Saturday, which was shown on BBC Scotland and around the world online on YouTube.

The Inverclyde Indoor Bowling Club star was up against Rebecca Houston from Prestwick Ambassador IBC in the final of the competition in front of a full house at the Dewars Centre in Perth and was narrowly beaten 8,7 - 8,6.

Although he missed out on the title, the S5 student was delighted to reach the latter stages and gain global exposure.
Stewart, who also plays at Port Glasgow Bowling Club, said: “It was a really good experience to play on a different rink in front of a big crowd and in front of TV cameras.

“I was only nervous for the first 10 minutes then I got settled into it.

“To qualify through five or six games is a big achievement and to get to the finals really gets you recognised.”

Stewart, who lives in Gibshill, was cheered on by family and friends and hopes his appearance can be a springboard to future success, as well as helping him progress through the age groups to the lucrative senior level.

He said: “I was up with my mum, my gran and some people I know and they were really nervous watching on, but proud of me.

“I’m trying to qualify and get through to bigger Scottish teams — the under-18s and under-25s — and progress to the gents.

“You’re getting younger players in playing the sport. I’m just trying to have fun with it but it is nice when you get better at it!

“I’ve watched the final back and it is strange seeing myself on TV, but it was great appearing alongside big name players.

“I’ve been bowling for seven years and got into it from knowing people who play the sport, which great-grandfather did as well.

“It’s good fun.”

Stewart is now preparing for a trial with the national U17s on Sunday.

He added: “By playing well I’ve put myself out there and I’m chuffed to have the chance to play for Scotland.”