High praise as Norfolk’s top bowlers are honoured
The Middleton Cup – the FA Cup of the bowls world – took pride of place at the Hansells Norfolk County EBA presentation lunch at the Holiday Inn, Norwich North.
Norfolk's fifth triumph in the national county championship at Worthing drew congratulations from the guests of honour – Joan Balding, the immediate past president of Bowls England, and Roger Holden, managing partner of Norfolk EBA sponsors Hansells Solicitors and Financial Advisers.
'It was exciting to hold the Middleton Cup and bask in the reflected glory of Norfolk's fantastic achievement,' said Holden. 'It was also a delight to meet the winners of all the season's domestic competitions in another thoroughly enjoyable year.
'The county's bowls players are a wonderful group of people to be associated with – and we look forward to another successful season next year. That will be the 10th year of Hansells' sponsorship arrangements,' said Holden.
The season was a personal triumph for Wayne Willgress of Premier Zone champions and Mixed Fours winners Norfolk Bowling Club. He won the Two-wood Singles Championship and was joined by Charles West and Chris Willgress to win the Triples Championship. Wayne was runner-up in the Singles Championship and, with John Tufts, was runner-up in the Pairs Championship.
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Acle St Edmunds also had a good trophy season. George Tubby won the Singles Championship, John Colcombe and Andy Siely won the Pairs Championship, and Daniel Seabourne, Simon Elliott, George Tubby and Andy Siely won the Fours Championship.
Wootton Park recorded a runners-up double, in both the Triples and Fours Championships.
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Norfolk EBA President George Hunter thanked all who had helped make his year in office so enjoyable.
'The season has been one long highlight for me,' he said. 'It was, of course, crowned by victory in the Middleton Cup and I have tried to take it round to as many clubs as possible to show it off.'
The season had started with a very good tour of the Isle of Wight where Norfolk won all their matches.
'That proved to be a very good omen. The friendship and camaraderie I have encountered wherever I have travelled has been wonderful,' said Wortwell Bowls Club member Hunter, who even found time to play eight times for the Bowls England team. His nominated charity, the East Anglian Air Ambulance, benefitted by �1079 from Norfolk players' generosity.
Even the weather had not caused much disruption although the greens had been 'a bit heavy.'
There were special words of praise from Hunter for sponsors Hansells. He said: 'It has been wonderful to have the backing of such a distinguished firm over so many years. Apart from their help in keeping costs down, Hansells' involvement in social occasions and in promoting bowls around the county and beyond us has been invaluable.'
• ROLL OF HONOUR
Singles Championship (Sir Henry N Holmes Trophy): George Tubby (Acle St Edmunds), Wayne Willgress (Norfolk Bowling Club)
Pairs Championship (W T George Trophy): John Colcombe, Andy Siely (Acle St Edmunds); John Tufts, Wayne Willgress (Norfolk Bowling Club)
Triples Championship (Arthur Bush Cup): Charles West, Chris Willgress, Wayne Willgress (Norfolk Bowling Club); Justin Hudson, Ian Whiley, Mervyn Chapman (Wootton Park)
Fours Championship (RG Pilch Cup): Daniel Seabourne, Simon Elliott, George Tubby, Andy Siely (Acle); Justin Hudson, Simon Peach, Mervyn Chapman, Ian Whiley (Wootton Park)
Two-wood Singles Championship (Tom Kelly and John Ottaway Cup): Wayne Willgress (Norfolk Bowling Club), Peter Wilkinson (County Arts)
U25 Championship (Horace Leech Memorial Trophy): Sam King (Hunstanton), Josh Baxter (Caister-on-Sea)
Club Championship (Bales Cup): County Arts, North Walsham
Double Fours Championship (Lord Fermoy Cup): Hunstanton, Freethorpe A
Mixed Fours Championship (A Jermy Cup): Norfolk Bowling Club, Downham Market
Premier Zone (Cromer Cup): Norfolk Bowling Club
Central Hingham Rec A, Shipdham
East Acle B, Bradwell A
North Fakenham Town, Lakeside
South Gissing A, Dickleburgh
West Downham Market A, Upwell, Gaywood Park
W P Baker Cup: Downham Market, Fakenham Town
Hansells Cup: Bradwell, Upwell; Semi-finalists: Lakeside, Shipdham