Scottish Disability Sport (SDS) sent a team of eight players to the Exhibition Centre in Liverpool or the UK Boccia Championships from the 11 – 13 August 2017. The same venue will be used for the BISFed World Championships in 2018. The UK Championships are always a significant date on the calendar for our high performance players. Sadly, one of our players, Innes Martin, had to withdraw for family reasons on the eve of the competition.
Scotland has a history of delivering medals at this event in recent years and with four player’s part of the UK Boccia high performance pathway there was room for optimism. The 2017 event was no different, with Scots winning five medals across the across the BC3 and BC4 classification groups.
In the BC1 section, world number one David Smith retained his British title defeating Wales’ Ricky Stevenson in the final. Scotland’s representative in this class was SDS Academy Athlete, Reegan Stevenson, but lost out 8-2 to Jabe Peake (ENG) in the bronze medal match.
In the BC2 section it was England’s Tim Hayes who claimed the Gold medal, defeating teammate Reshad Saraj in the final. Veteran, Zoe Robinson won 10-1 to claim the bronze medal against Morgan Butterfield (WAL). Scotland’s representative in the class was Calum Glasgow from Forth Valley. Glasgow failed to qualify from the pool but did manage to beat Scott Cromie (NIR) on a tie break. As a developing player this experience will stand him in good stead.
Scotland’s strength is unquestionably in the BC3 classification and with Rio 2016 Paralympians Scott McCowan, Jamie McCowan and Patrick Wilson fighting it out for the British title – it is anyone’s guess! Furthermore, there is considerable depth in the BC3 class across the UK which always makes for an exciting competition. The tie of the group stages was between the McCowan brothers, with Scott losing out 3-4 to his younger sibling. As it turned out, all three Scots made it to the Semi-Final. Jamie McCowan beat Jess Hunter (ENG) 5-0, whilst brother, Scott, came up against teammate Patrick Wilson, and triumphed 9-1. Patrick defeated Jess Hunter 5-0 in the bronze playoff match but the final was an all family affair. Scott avenged the earlier group defeat to the hands of his younger brother, showing all his experience to win under pressure. The match finished 2-2 and went to tiebreak. A Scotland 1-2-3 in the BC3 classification indicates the strength we have in this country.
In the BC4 section we had three representatives, with the youngest being Ross Munro, who has made tremendous progress in this class. The West of Scotland youngster recovered well from a 0-13 defeat to England’s Louis Saunders in his first game to narrowly lose out 2-4 to Paralympian Evie Edwards and 3-4 to the experienced Harry Thomson (ENG). Although the young Scott failed to qualify from the group his performances were extremely encouraging against tough opposition. The famous Boccia Brothers were at it again in the BC4 section, as both reached the semi-final. They had actually faced one another in the group stages, with reigning World Champion, Stephen, coming out on top. In the first semi, Peter came up against England’s emerging talent, Louis Saunders. The match finished in a 4-1 defeat in a very close contest. Stephen squared up against England’s Harry Thompson and emerged victorious after a close 5-2 contest. Peter eventually won the bronze following a tie-break with Harry Thompson. A result that was particularly pleasing for all involved in Scottish Boccia – it was great to see Peter amongst the medals again at the event. Stephen came up against the Louis Saunders and broke him down to win 10-3 on the day and claim another BC4 British title.
The final medal results for the 2017 UK Championships were as follows:
Gold: David Smith (Eng)
Silver: Ricky Stevenson (Eng)
Bronze: Jabe Peake (Eng)
Gold: Tim Hayes (Eng)
Silver: Reshad Saraj (Eng)
Bronze: Zoe Robinson (Eng)
Scottish medal sweep!
Gold: Scott McCowan
Silver: Jamie McCowan
Bronze: Patrick Wilson
Gold: Stephen McGuire (Sco)
Silver: Louis Saunders (Eng)
Bronze: Peter McGuire (Sco)
SDS would like to congratulate all the players, coaches and support staff on an extremely successful UK Championship and our thanks go to all at UK Boccia and Boccia England for hosting and organising this event.