Dylan Morton is bowled over by call-up for IBD World Bowls Championships
Dylan Morton is determined not to just be making up the numbers and will be going for gold at the IBD (International Bowls for the Disabled) World Bowls Championships later this year.
The 51-year-old has been named in the Disability Bowls England squad for the event in New Zealand in November, having only been playing the sport for four years.
Having moved to Bassingbourn four years ago, curiosity got the better of Morton walking his dog one day when he spotted the bowls green.
Just as at many bowls clubs, there was a need for players with membership dwindling, and within two weeks, he was in the team.
“It’s one of those sports where if you start playing you get hooked,” says Morton. “It’s a nice social sport but I’m really competitive and I want to win.”
His game improved and, after two years, Morton got involved with Disability Bowls England, having suffered a paralysed left arm after a motorcycle accident in 2003.
Having earned a B8 classification, the titles have flowed, with Morton last year crowned the national singles indoors and outdoors champion.
“Being part of disability bowls is one big family,” says Morton.
“Everyone has got something different. A good friend of mine, for example, has got one arm amputated right at the shoulder and he has both legs amputated from his knee.
“I play with another guy who has been to two Commonwealth Games who has no arms whatsoever and he actually plays with his feet.
“He is such an amazing bowler and can compete with most people.
“You see all sorts of different disabilities, it’s such a real mix.”
Last year, Morton earned his first cap playing for the Cambridgeshire able-bodied squad and, with the England call-up, the accolades show no sign of slowing.
“It’s fantastic for me as I get the best of both worlds,” he explains. “Opportunities like this have recently arisen so it’s such an honour to get the chance to play for your country.”
Morton was named in Disability Bowls England’s high-performance squad, which is the top 16 players in the country, from which they pick teams for international matches, the world championships and Commonwealth Games.
Making the trip to New Zealand will be a group of around 14 disabled and visually-impaired players, but as Disability Bowls England is a self-funded organisation, the players will have to pay for themselves. But that has not deterred Morton, who will take part in the singles, pairs and triples.
“I think I’m definitely capable of winning gold,” he says. “I wouldn’t be going if I didn’t think I could win.
“I’m going there hoping to get gold, and knowing that I can if I play to the best of my abilities and get into that flow that I often do.
“I’ve played against a lot of the top guys already, and know that I can compete with them. I want to come back with at least one medal, but it’s going for gold.”
And pulling on the England shirt will mean a lot to Morton.
“It’s the main thing that drives me really, the chance to represent my country,” he says. “It’s not anything I have thought of before because until you get to the top of your sport, you wouldn’t be considering that.
“This world championships was a bolt out of the blue because I didn’t know anything about it.
“It just means everything. It’s a pride thing playing for the country, and so is playing for Cambridgeshire.”
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More by this authorMark Taylor