A spokesperson for the United Kingdom Bowls Confederation Federation has promised that there will be an immediate investigation after it emerged that 117 bowls players registered at Essex lawn bowls clubs failed doping tests in 2015. According to a new report from the sport’s appointed drug testing agency DOPEX, all of the players failed tests on both their ‘A’ and ‘B’ for performance enhancing substances, and there have already been calls for all major Essex bowls competitions to be replayed to maintain the integrity of the sport.

Niall Blow is Chief Testing Complaince Officer at DOPEX, and he said: ‘We passed all of our findings over to the UKBCF, and the 117 failures included positive tests for anabolic steroids, amphetamines and red blood cell enhancers. In 34 cases, we also detected the banned substance Weepalone – a particularly destructive chemical that prevents the brain from shutting down entirely due to excessive levels of extreme boredom. While we are regretful about having to print this report, we are delighted to be playing a significant role in cleaning up this great British sport.’

An anonymous source contacted Southend News Network to describe a match last year where he had suspicions about his opponent. He said: ‘I was playing against a guy who was constantly on edge, and at one point he managed to crush the jack in the palm of his hand like the Asian guy in the hat from that James Bond film. I managed to beat him on that occasion, and instead of shaking my hand he picked his wife up and threw her into a skip while yelling some very strong obscenities. By the time the police arrived, he had his underpants on his head and he was checking individual blades of grass for length and thickness – this is not the image that Essex Bowls wants the world to see.’

This is the latest in a line of scandals to hit Essex bowls. Last year, a tournament in Canewdon ended in rioting and more than £200,000 of damage when a minor argument over a hat escalated into what some locals described as ‘a civil war.’