The furore surrounding Polymergate (formerly Varnishgate) shows no signs of dissipating today as the Frome Vauchurch three returned home to face a hostile press and a battery of angry fans.
The three members of the "senior leadership group" - Captain Steve Bent, Vice-Captain David Wrongun and recently-rate-capped newcomer David Cameron-Bankrobber - have admitted to "using an advanced polymer" on their crown green bowls in order to gain a competitive advantage in their recent grudge match against Belchalwell. The Frome Vauchurch Integrity Commission has confirmed that the three plotted to use the polymer (not old-fashioned varnish as originally reported) "in a deliberate and premeditated fashion" during a tea-break, sourcing the polymer from a Russian friend who regularly carries a stock "for recreational use". Head of the Commission, Vince Vandiemensland, added that "improbably no other players and no member of the coaching staff were involved" and that "sanctions of the greatest severity would be applied". It is widely expected that the trio will be fined their match fee (£2 plus travelling expenses) and suspended for the next meeting in the two match series. Their bowls may also be impounded indefinitely.
An emotional Steve Bent told a hastily organised Press Conference in Askerswell that he was "deeply sorry for the incident and even more sorry to have been caught". "We thought the umpires would just think we had nice shiny bowls but obviously the high sheen attracted their attention and alerted them to the possibility of bowl-tampering". Bent had at first denied the offence: a response he described as "a panic reaction in the face of incontrovertible proof". "I will regret this until I forget all about it in a few days time", he said, before breaking down in tears. Asked what the suspicious bulge in his trouser pocket was all about, Bent at first claimed it was a handkerchief, before admitting it was a peeled onion he had been using to soothe an eye-infection.
Bowls follower and David Wrongun fan - Gladys Turner-Blindeye - was lost for words as she tried to process the enormity of what had happened: "Those who wear the baggy heliotrope have a sacred responsibility to the sport. They are role models for dozens of young people who look to them to show skill, courage and above all integrity. This is a sad day for Frome Vauchurch sport and a serious blow to the image of the sport I love ... I for one will take some time to come to terms with what has unquestionably been the worst few hours of my life. David is a wonderful young man but what he has done is simply wrong and there's no excuse. I love him dearly but I hope they will lock him up and throw away the key. Either that or give him a good talking to and ask him not to do it again. If he shows contrition and promises to behave I'd have him back in the team tomorrow. Because apart from making a tiny - almost miniscule - error of judegement of no real significance, he's done nothing wrong really. He's a young man who has been led astray and has now faced a massive over-reaction by the authorities. He's a victim of circumstance and in my mind, David leaves this Press Conference without a stain on his character."
Steve Bent has brought shame to the genteel world of bowls. He and his co-conspirators have been hung out to dry by Bowls Frome Vauchurch. Fans are ashamed, incensed and delighted at the publicity.