For the second successive year Fife bowlers with a physical, sensory or learning disability played magnificently at the Scottish Disability Sport (SDS) Lawn Bowls Championships at the Westburn Park in Aberdeen. Expectations on this occasion were lower than usual because of the absence from the team of world championships medalists Martin Hunter, Michael Simpson and Maria Simpson plus Barbara McMillan and Pamela Mitchell. All were unavailable for selection because of injury, illness, family weddings etc. However, Fife team Manager John Collins led the team north with Team Fife’s usual upbeat attitude that because training and preparations had gone well there was every chance of a few high placings.
Once again Team Fife excelled in the sections for bowlers with a learning disability. Wendy Thomson and Julie Allan from East Fife CSS contested the women’s final with Wendy winning the title for the second time. Wendy plays her bowls at the St Andrews Bowling Club and Julie plays at Windygates BC. This was by Julie’s best performance in a national championships. Tanis Murphy, also from East Fife CSS and Windygates Bowling Club, reached the semi finals.
In the equivalent section for male bowlers with a learning disability Darryl Stewart from Cowdenbeath Bowling Club repeated his 2015 performance and finished runner up, losing out in the final by only one shot (8-9) after leading up until the final end. Defending champion Craig Donaldson from Kinghorn BC lost out in the third round.
Yet again Scottish International Billy Allan from Cowdenbeath BC led from the front. Billy’s record in SDS Championships is exceptional. Last year he was runner up to world champion and Fife team mate Martin Hunter but this year he won the section for non restricted ambulant physically and visually impaired bowlers. Yet another national title for one of Scotland’s most experienced internationals.
Mary Wilson is relatively new to Disability Sport Fife but within a few years she has made a significant impact in the sports of swimming and athletics in particular. Mary was encouraged to take up bowls this year and within a matter of a few months she has progressed up the rankings. In Aberdeen she finished runner up in her third major tournament of the year. Mary is coached by Sarah Jane Ewing at Abbeyview Bowling Club but because she now lives in Edinburgh she plays her club bowls in the capital.
Six sections were contested and Fife bowlers won two national titles and three runners up medals. Another great performance by Team Fife. Attention now turns to the Annual Fife Indoor Championships for bowlers with a learning disability at the East Fife Indoor BC at Methil on Thursday 8th September.
Richard Brickley MBE
President, Disability Sport Fife