St Ives Bowls Club can now be mentioned in the same breath as some of the finest sporting arenas in the country.

The club’s dedicated team of volunteers – Ian Cousins, David Jones, Derek Garner, Tony Dymond, Peter Oakman, Ron Bull, Mike Hall and Bob Welford - have won a prestigious national award from the Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG).

They are the inaugural recipients of the Bowling Green Groundsman/Team of the Year gong.

He said: “We are very pleased and proud to have won the award especially as we are all volunteers and all playing members of the club.

“It was great to be nominated and to be present at the awards dinner among so many top professionals from great venues such as Old Trafford, Lord’s and Wimbledon.

“We put in approximately 20 hours of work each week year-round and we all thoroughly enjoy it – probably because we sit down and put the world to rights over a cup of a tea when we are done!”

The St Ives team were nominated for the award by Rob Bradshaw, the head groundsman for Huntingdonshire District Council and himself a former IOG award-winner.