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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 August, 2003, 10:23 GMT 11:23 UK
From bowling green to silver screen
Bernard Cribbins, Johnny Vegas and Paul Kaye
Filming took place in Torquay in 2002
A Devon bowls player, who was banned from the sport, is the inspiration for a new film being premiered in the county on Thursday.

Griff Sanders, from Torquay was banned for 10 years in 1998 for inappropriate dress, swearing, and obscene language towards an official.

Mr Sanders, now 30, was 25 and an England international when he was banned from competitive outdoor lawn bowls events by the Devon County Bowling Association.

He successfully appealed against the ban in 1999.

I just can't help showing my emotions, that's all
Griff Sanders

His offences included rolling cigarettes, drinking lager and once playing an end while eating a bag of chips.

He also wrote a derogatory comment on his scorecard about the secretary of a bowling club.

The film, Blackball, is being premiered at Paignton's Apollo Cinema on Thursday night.

It is directed by Mel Smith and stars many of Britain's top comedians.

"We're gonna make bowling sexy - which is a tall order," said Paul Kaye who plays Cliff, the character based on Griff.

Filming took place in Torquay in 2002, and it is hoped shots of the resort will bring a boost to the tourism industry.

Mr Sanders, who will be at the premiere, once said of his behaviour: "I swear a bit sometimes and offend people, but I would never humiliate anyone on the green.

"I just get angry with myself really - I just can't help showing my emotions, that's all."

The film is on general release from 5 September 2003.

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10 Jul 03  |  Wales
Bowling clubs under threat
03 Jun 03  |  Devon

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