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Acle Open a who's who of top bowls players

PUBLISHED: 12:38 30 December 2009 | UPDATED: 16:02 03 July 2010

Jamie Chestney of the Gallow club at Fakenham, one of the top players in the Acle Open.

Jamie Chestney of the Gallow club at Fakenham, one of the top players in the Acle Open.

The list of entries for the Acle Open Tournament is like the Who's Who of bowls.

Already confirmed for the open to be staged at Acle Indoor Bowls Club on January 3 are world champion Billy Jackson, world ladies' champion Debbie Stavrou, and world-ranked No 2 Mark Royal and No 5 David Gourlay.

The list of entries for the Acle Open Tournament is like the Who's Who of bowls.

Already confirmed for the open to be staged at Acle Indoor Bowls Club on January 3 are world champion Billy Jackson, world ladies' champion Debbie Stavrou, and world-ranked No 2 Mark Royal and No 5 David Gourlay.

Also included in the line-up is local talent Mervyn King, world matchplay champion Jamie Chestney the world U25 champion, and Graham Smith from Spalding ranked at 26th. Also appearing will be Simon Skelton, England No 10 and newly-crowned Welsh open champion, Robert Chisholm.

If you are a bowls enthusiast the only place to be on January 3 will be Acle.

The reason for such a plethora of bowls talent to descend upon the very progressive Acle club was explained by manager Denis Goodley. “Tim Stone, our own very talented club champion for the past seven years, along with 10 more club players, have been playing in the professional bowls tournaments during the last few months and learnt that a new premier bowls circuit was being formed in the Midlands and wondered if we should also join.

“Enquiries were made and we were welcomed with open arms, such is the reputation of the Acle club,” he stated. “We launched this tournament on the web and it was filled within 10 days.”

Other clubs on the East Midland Premier Bowls circuit are Lincoln, Ely, Spalding, and Boston, with the finals in May to be staged in Nottingham.

Good prize money is being offered at all events and Scottish and Newcastle Brewery and Adnams Brewery are supporting the Acle event. Sponsors have already agreed to support the 2011 tournament, so impressed are they with the line-up.

Goodley continued: “It is a great opportunity for local players to test themselves against some of the best players in the world, and what better place to grab a few scalps than on your own home carpet in front of your own club members.”

“This is going to be one of the greatest array of talent ever seen at a local bowls club and we are proud to be hosts to such an event,” he added.

“This ties in nicely with our Pathway to Excellence Scheme, we have in place at the club, which is part of our Clubmark standard.

“We have a progress chart to bring our youngsters through from beginner to youth section member, to local league, then county league and eventually England triallists,” he concluded.

Acle have produced 10 England junior internationals since it was opened in 1993 and this year have England international trialists in the men's and ladies' international teams and the England U25 team.

At one point, 25 per cent of the ladies' England U25 came from Acle.

The club coaches are to be congratulated on their enthusiasm.

They visit six schools, introducing bowls to over 70 children every year and the club benefits from this by having a thriving youth section of 30 youngsters, which meets very Friday from 4.30pm.

The club is continually looking for new talent so if you are interested in becoming the next world bowls champion and travelling the world, with all expenses paid, then why not take the first step by joining Acle Indoor Bowls Club?

The coaches may not be able to turn you into a world champion overnight but you will be given every opportunity to reach the top and there is even a bursary set aside to help juniors if necessary.

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