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French connection boost for bowls player

PUBLISHED: 11:29 24 July 2008 | UPDATED: 10:24 07 July 2010

Jamie Chestney in indoor action.

Jamie Chestney in indoor action.

A French connection will give rising Fakenham international bowls star Jamie Chestney an important boost to his career.

As part of a sponsorship package it is aimed to pit him against his French equivalent boules player in a home and away challenge involving both sports.

A French connection will give rising Fakenham international bowls star Jamie Chestney an important boost to his career.

As part of a sponsorship package it is aimed to pit him against his French equivalent boules player in a home and away challenge involving both sports.

The idea comes from former top Norfolk bowls player Mark Overton, now director of Group Logical at Hethersett, a £10million company selling investment properties all over France.

“I used to play regularly for Norfolk and won national titles myself. I am now 47 and don't play to the standard I used to,” admitted Overton, who at his peak with Wymondham Dell in the Eighties and Nineties was the youngest winner of the national singles title. However, he recognised the financial pressures on players such as former world under-25 singles champion and England international Chestney at senior level in such sports as bowls.

The Group Logical sponsorship will give Chestney a monthly amount which can increase as his contacts in the bowls world generate interest in his sponsor's business.

Chestney, 21, who plays indoor at Fakenham Gallow and outdoor at Hunstanton, said of the sponsorship: “It is basically for expenses for when I go away, for hotels, petrol. It will help me play more bowls and allow me to concentrate even more on my game.”

He said he met Mark Overton at the Norfolk Bowling Club. “I'm very appreciative, you don't get a lot of sponsorship for bowls.” He hoped it might encourage more businesses to sponsor young players in a sport which is seeing increasing numbers of young players on the national and international scene.

It is hoped the bowls-boule challenge will take place within a couple of months, which gives Chestney plenty of time to pick the brains of Fakenham's twinning committee about the French sport. There are long-standing links between the town and Olivet in the Loire Valley region of France.

On Saturday Chestney was part of the Norfolk team which won their Middleton Cup quarter-final against Leicestershire by one shot.

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