Aviva Champions Dinner 2023: A sparkling celebration

29th November, 2023

270 guests indulged in an occasion full of heartfelt (and sometimes humorous!) moments, reflecting on the action from Victoria Park, Leamington Spa, celebrating the success of the winners and finalists from the 2023 Aviva National Finals.

Bowls England President, Deepak Tanna, offered his warm welcome and spoke about his enjoyment as President, the success of the Aviva National Finals and paid tribute to winners from his home county of Leicestershire.

“The journey has been incredible, and though my time as President may be ending, the spirit of bowls lives on,” he said.


Bowls England President Deepak Tanna delivering his speech at the 2023 Aviva Champions Dinner.


Guests participated in a ‘Heads and Tails’ quiz in which a statement relating to this year’s Finals was read out and a correct answer had to be decided.

Buckinghamshire’s Michael Gomme came out on top in the quiz, winning a £100 Bowlswear Direct voucher and two hospitality tickets to the 2024 Aviva National Finals. A nice bonus to his evening as he collected the Men’s Triples title, alongside Matthew Hyde and Andrew Briden.

The first section of presentations saw National Competition winners and finalists receive their trophies. Senior Vice President David King-Taylor, Mike Bertrand and Jenny Ralph from Friends of English Bowling and Junior Vice President, Sheila Storey shared the duties of presenting.

Shanklin BC brought a wealth of support to the event and were tremendously cheered as they collected their trophies. The Isle of Wight-based club won the Men’s Club Two Fours and were finalists in the Men’s Top Club.


Shanklin BC (Isle of Wight) celebrating their double Aviva National Finals success.


Kings BC of Devon proudly raised their hands in the air to signal the number five after they claimed the Women’s Top Club for a record fifth consecutive time.

Warwickshire’s Graham Ashby made a dashing double appearance on stage having finished as finalist in the Men’s Senior Singles and won the Men’s Champion of Champions.

Lincolnshire were greatly represented on the night too, with their teams winning the Middleton Cup and Walker Trophy on the final day of the Aviva National Finals.

The second part of proceedings saw the National Championship winners and finalists presented to, by John Bell from Aceit, Ryan McVinnie and Ben Collier from Riviera Travel and Bowls England President, Deepak Tanna.

Two Bowl prizes were handed out to Warwickshire’s Mark Ireland and Somerset’s Laura Holden, while National Pairs title were received by victors Nick Wardle and Joe Dawson (Leicestershire) and Carol Gaskins and Donna Grant (Oxfordshire).


2023 Women’s Pairs champions, Donna Grant and Carol Gaskins (Oxfordshire).


Debbie Souter gave great credit to her Fours teammates, Jemma Tuohy, Yasmina Hasan and Liz Anderson, in particular to 20 year-old Jemma in her debut season in competitions.

Women’s Singles winner, Stef Branfield, proudly received her illustrious title after Lewis King gave a special thanks to his mum and England international, Wendy King, as he lifted the Men’s Singles title.

The party carried on well into the evening with a DJ, as guests enjoyed time on the dancefloor.


Find images from the 2023 Aviva Champions Dinner here.


Why not take up the challenge of entering a 2024 National Competition?
In addition to testing your mettle and sharing an enjoyable experience with clubmates, you will meet new bowlers, visit new clubs and maybe even tread the hallowed turf of Victoria Park…
Interested? Get your entries in from Monday 4th December.

To be part of Bowls England’s next glittering evening – the Bowls England Awards, taking place in Leicester on Saturday 24th February 2023 – you can purchase tickets when they become available this week.

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