Without umpires, playing competitive bowls is simply not possible.  This award will be presented to the umpire or marker who has gone above and beyond in 2023.  Their work will have helped deliver great experiences for participants this year. 

Below are the list of umpires which have been shortlisted for the Umpire of the Year Award at the Bowls England Awards 2023.

Keith Sawdon (Berkshire)

Keith stands out as an exceptional and loyal umpire and marker, for Berkshire Bowling Association and at the Aviva National Finals at Leamington. In an era when qualified umpires are scarce in Berkshire, Keith has demonstrated unwavering dedication by officiating at numerous games, often at the expense of his family time. Despite the challenges, he willingly gives his time to ensure the smooth running of matches. 

Keith’s commitment to his role is underscored by his extensive knowledge and fairness. His up-to-date understanding of rules and regulations, combined with his friendly and approachable demeanour, eliminates any questioning of his decisions on the green.  

Beyond officiating, Keith has contributed in many ways to bowls. He has served on the Berkshire Management Committee for many years, where he played a key role in managing the association’s website. As the primary Green Keeper for his club in Bracknell, Keith ensures the quality of the playing surface. His willingness to assist anyone with sport-related issues highlights his passion for the game and his dedication to helping others navigate challenges. 

Ron Jacklin (Leicestershire)

Ron is a commendable and reliable member of the EBUA. A regular attendee at the Aviva National Finals, Ron is known for his punctuality, efficiency, and exemplary teamwork, making him an invaluable asset during the event. Living near Victoria Park, Royal Leamington Spa, Ron consistently steps up at short notice to assist when additional umpires or markers are required, showcasing his commitment to the smooth running of competitions. 

Beyond his role as an umpire, Ron serves as a long-standing Marker Assessor for the EBUA, playing a crucial role in the development of new members. His willingness to share his knowledge and expertise is evident in his dedication to helping others enhance their skills through observations and guidance. Ron has been instrumental in guiding numerous members through the Markers Grades, contributing to the growth and proficiency of fellow members. 

Steve Alway (Gloucestershire)

Steve is a dedicated and invaluable member of the bowls community, recognized for his extensive contributions as a National Umpire within the EBUA. His longstanding commitment is exemplified by his regular attendance at the Aviva National Finals over many years. He has also ensured the smooth and fair conduct of competitions at local and regional levels. 

Beyond officiating, Steve’s efforts extend to administrative and coordinative roles. Serving as a County Coordinator for multiple County Associations and a former Area Secretary, he plays a vital role in the organizational aspects of the sport. Steve’s involvement in workshops, examinations, and Markers Courses showcases his commitment to enhancing the knowledge and skills of others within the bowls community. 

At the Aviva National Finals, if not involved in umpiring or marking, Steve can be found selflessly assisting others in the office.

Tony Strudwick (Buckinghamshire)

Tony boasts a longstanding affiliation with the EBUA and has earned recognition as an International-Grade umpire. His dedication is evident through his regular attendance at the Aviva National Finals over many years, where he has served as both a marker and umpire, showcasing not only his skills but also his effectiveness as a team member. 

Beyond his officiating prowess, Tony has played a pivotal role as a County Coordinator for an extended period. Recently stepping back from this position, his impact on coordinating activities and ensuring the smooth running of the county is commendable. Tony also serves as a Marker Mentor for the EBUA, utilizing his wealth of knowledge to mentor and guide others in the art of marking. 


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