All good things must come to an end and unfortunately that is true of the outdoor bowls season. With the Summer over (what there was of it) and the Autumn setting in, members have packed away their gear until next year.

However, Saturday evening saw those members gathering at our clubhouse to relive some of 2023’s best bits on the green, reminiscing on some of their brilliant shots, great wins and the opposition’s incredibly lucky wicks! Yes, it was time for our Annual Presentation Evening.

As years go, 2023 was overall a good one for Norwest. We were pleased to welcome several new members who I’m sure, with their enthusiasm, are going to be a great asset to our club. The club competitions went extremely well this year with more entries than ever and the standard of bowls for the finals were exceptional, which brings me back to our Presentation Evening.

As usual the silverware was glittering, but unfortunately, we were missing our master of ceremonies. For several years Brian Holmes has guided us through the presentations, keeping us on our toes and injecting the odd bit of humour to the proceedings. This year though, Brian, was unable to join us due to a recent operation so we wish him well and hope to see him back holding the reins next year. We were lucky to have Brian’s granddaughter, Chloe to take over: maybe not so polished as Brian but certainly better to look at! Thanks Chloe, brilliant job.

Our President and Vice President, Merv Ashman and Kath Hillman, were on hand to present the trophies and in Merv’s case to collect the kisses from the lady winners!

The Briggs Crate Annual Challenge Cup (which is played for annually on a home and away basis) against Yeovil was retained by Norwest and presented to the club captain, Paul Hill and the captains of the A and B teams, Aaron Delamont and Andy Walker.

Another hotly contested competition is the clash between our mens A and B teams. This has become an annual event with the teams raising money for the team Captain’s chosen charities. This year the A team retained their winning title but the B team agreed to donate their money to the A team captain, Aaron’s charity which was a very personal and heartfelt choice. Our A Team also won £100 from the County League and the proceeds from a mens v ladies game was also added to the pot making it £300 for the MacMillan Nurses. A great charity.

And so to our ‘Club Person of the Year’. As always it’s a difficult choice, there’s the work party who do stirling work keeping us spic and span then there’s Lin, Sally and Shirley who take on most of the catering, then there are our fixture secretaries... but I could go on and on. So our ‘Club person of the year’ for 2023 is our treasurer, Sue Eastell. Sue took over our finances somewhat reluctantly when our previous treasurer retired and she has done a brilliant job. She’s had quite a battle trying to get us a bit more technologically savvy and bringing Norwest up to date. It was unfortunate that Sue was unable to be with us to collect her award as she was in hospital. We wish you well Sue. Get back to us soon to keep a tight rein on the purse strings.

We also had some County awards to present to our two youngest members, Jack and Chloe. Although it was a bit late coming, (that’s the boys County manager for you), Jack was presented with the Somerset Under 18’s Boy’s ‘Player of the Year’ for 2022. As Chloe had previously won the girls Somerset Under 18’s Girls ‘Player of the Year Award’ for 2022 this was a great achievement for Norwest.

Chloe also scooped a winners medal for the Somerset Four Counties Under 25’s Tournament and runners up medals for Somerset County Ladies Beginners and Somerset Indoor Girls Under 25’s Singles. Well done Jack and Chloe, Norwest is very proud of you.

Our President, Merv, rounded off the evening thanking every one who had taken part in the competitions and helped with the evening.

He also had some sad news: Reg Morgan, one of our old members had sadly passed away that morning. Reg was a great bowler always with a cheery word, lots of encouragement for his fellow bowlers and a brilliant sense of humour. He will be sadly missed and our thoughts go to his wife Ann and all their family.

With all the presentations over, our members were only too ready for our fish and chip supper, a few bevvies and a good old natter.

And now all it remains for me to do is pass on Norwest’s thank you’s.

Firstly, a great big THANK YOU to Radstock Trophies without whom the trophies wouldn’t happen. They’ve a lot to put up with from me and I’m very grateful for their patience. Second, THANK YOU to Whitestones for our fish and chips - delicious as always, and of course closely following on, the bar staff, Paul and Andy who kept us well topped up. Now, a very big THANK YOU to everyone who helped in any way to make the evening the great success it undoubtedly was. And lastly, THANK YOU to everyone who took part in the competitions, winners, runners up and especially those who entered the competitions but just missed out. Please, try again next year because without you there would be no winners.