A significant recent development in Para-bowls has been the inclusion of a series of national competitions within the mainstream championships organised by Bowls Scotland at Northfield, Ayr. The event is coordinated over a weekend by Scottish Disability Sport (SDS) and the leading male and female Scottish players in the B6, B7 and B8 classes are invited to compete in their respective sections. Recent initiatives by SDS and partners have led to an increase in physically disabled players with performance potential in Scotland and a number of the newcomers made their mark at Ayr this month.
This was year two of the event and Disability Sport Fife (DSF) was well represented once again, although world champion Martin Hunter from Burntisland had to call off through injury. Martin’s international team mate and defending champion Michael Simpson from Auchtermuchty and Strathmiglo BC had another fine tournament in the B7/B8 class, losing narrowly in the semi final 20-21 to Ian Brown from Kilbirnie.
Two DSF members, international Barbara McMillan from Cowdenbeath and newcomer Mary Wilson from Edinburgh contested the ladies open semi final with Mary winning through to the final 19-18. In the final she met experienced bowler Tracy Black from Alloa who was also making her first appearance in a major Para–bowls competition. Mary clearly has a future in Para-bowls but on this occasion she found her Central Scotland opponent just too strong.
Scottish international Billy Allan from Cowdenbeath has a fine home record in major competitions and once again he reached a B6 final. On this occasion he came up against new find Mike Nichol from Jedburgh who played an impressive semi final tie against international Gary Clelland. Billy had to settle for an excellent silver medal performance when he went down 12-21 to his Borders opponent in the B6 final.
There is no doubt that in one year the quality of physically disabled bowler contesting all of the three sections at Northfield has risen dramatically. This is great news as Scotland prepares for the Commonwealth Games in Australia, the Home Nations in 2017 in Wales and the next IBD World Championships.
Photo: Billy Allan and Michael Simpson
Richard Brickley MBE
President, Disability Sport Fife