Hansells EBA bowls league celebration

This year has been one long success story for Norfolk's bowls players. The county won national trophies in both outdoor and indoor disciplines - and produced two world champions.

This year has been one long success story for Norfolk's bowls players.

The county won national trophies in both outdoor and indoor disciplines - and produced two world champions.

There was a full house at the Ramada Jarvis Hotel, in Norwich, as the Hansells Solicitors EBA Norfolk League feted the heroes of the outdoor game at the annual presentation night.

And no-one was more thrilled with the season than president Tom Hall.

"It has been a truly wonderful season," he said. "Magnificent."

Equally delighted were the league sponsors.

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"It has been win, win, win, all the way," said managing partner Roger Holden. "I have been enthralled to follow the success of Norfolk's EBA bowls players this year. They have proved themselves giants of the game and I hope the whole county is as proud of them as we are at Hansells."

Highlight of the summer was Norfolk's victory in the Middleton Cup. So impressed had Hansells been with that triumph, that the firm staged a champagne reception in the players' honour.

The Middleton Cup was the centrepiece of the display at the dinner, alongside the Eastern Counties Trophy which Norfolk also won.

Two weeks ago, 19-year-old Jamie Chestney became world under-25 champion. His Gallow clubmate, Mervyn King, was crowned world indoor champion earlier in the season. Both are Hansells League and Middleton Cup players.

More winners on the night were Papworth Hospital, and a local healthy heart initiative, Breckland Heartwork, which benefited from over £2000-worth of charity fund-raising in the league this year.

"I have had six heart attacks, so it is nice to put something back," said Hall.

He added: "It has been a tremendous year in which to be president of such a splendid association. But it is a good job the presidency lasts just one year, because I don't know if I could have physically coped with all the excitement much longer!"

The presentation night was primarily about the league's internal awards and on behalf of Hansells, Holden congratulated every individual who had won a trophy - and those who had taken part in the competitions.

On a personal level the season was a very successful one for Philip Barr of County Arts, winner of the blue ribband singles championship. He was a member of the victorious Middleton Cup team - for the third time in his 25-year playing career - and helped his club team earn runners-up medals in both the Bales Cup and Lord Fermoy Cup, as well as reaching the semi-finals of the national double fours competition at Worthing.

It was a second singles triumph for the Bradwell support worker, who previously held the cup in 1997.

Downham Market Bowls Club also had plenty to cheer about, with Richard Lewis and Peter Chestney winning the pairs championship, the A team winning the Cromer Cup and the B team winning the Hansells Solicitors League Cup and finishing as champions of West Zone Division Two.

"Our A team is used to winning things, but it's been a real boost for those of us who play in the B team to be up there among the awards as well this year," said B team captain Alan Skinner.

North Walsham Bowls Club took a stranglehold on the triples championship, Bruce Rossi, Chris Ward and Steven Ellis beating clubmates Tim Bullimore, Brian Sadler and Jason Roope in the final.

Guest speakers at the dinner included England Bowling Association president Ian Woodcock, the president of the Suffolk County EBA Randolph Ford and humorist Colin Burleigh of Dereham.