Scottish Disability Sport was once again involved in the organisation of the Para Bowls element of the Bowls Scotland National Championships at Ayr Northfield from Friday 27 to Saturday 28 July 2017.
The completion included 28 para bowlers across the physically disabled and visually impaired classification groups in the largest para competition to date at this prestigious event. Not only was the standard of bowls excellent but the crowds watching the matches showed that there was a real interest amongst the bowls community, whilst also raising the profile considerably.
In the Men’s B6 competition, there was some fine performances across the board but finalists George Guthrie and Fraser Mathieson, who defeated Mike Nicol and Billy Allan respectively, stood out, and rightly progressed to the final on Saturday. Unfortunately, there was a late call-off from Guthrie, meaning Mathieson was awarded a walkover. Although not the best way to be crowned national champion, Mathieson will gain great confidence from his performances throughout the event.
The Men’s B7/8 event was very open and this class is always fiercely contested. Stalwarts such as Michael Simpson, Gary Brown and John Hughes all competed, alongside the 2016 champion, and relative newcomer to para bowls, Brendan Handling. There was also a notable performance from Gala man, Daniel Porter, who was making his debut at the event. In the end, it came down to John Hughes and Brendan Handling to contest the final, who were undoubtedly the two most consistent performers. John Hughes edged it 21-14 to claim the title.
The ladies B7/B8 event was between four players Barbara McMillan, Tracy Black, Rosemary Lenton and Mary Wilson. After a couple of close semi-finals, it was the experienced McMillan and Lenton who would contest final. It was nip and tuck throughout the event with neither player giving away very much. However, it was eventually settled with Lenton winning 21-16.
The men’s B2/B3 event, for players with a visual impairment was contested by Robert Barr (Sarah Jane Ewing), Billy Edgar (Christine Morrow), Ian Graham (Marday Viapooree) and Willie Caulfield (George Miller). The names in brackets are that of the director who supports on the green by coaching, discussing shot types and calling the head using a clock face. Following the fiercely contested semi-finals, Robert Barr came up against Ian Graham in the showpiece on the Saturday morning. This was a one sided affair with Barr and Ewing winning 21-5, adding the national title to the pairs Silver they recently won at the Multi-Nations in Broadbeach, Australia.
The ladies B2/B3 event was a much more open affair, with all four players evenly matched. Irene Edgar (David Thomas), Maria Spencer (Ron McArthur), Mary Stevenson (Doreen Strachan) and Evelyn Byrne (Grace Whitton) all vying to be crowned the first ever Bowls Scotland National Champion. The final was eventually contested by Stevenson and Byrne in what turned out to be an epic 21-19 score line in favour of Evelyn Byrne and her director Grace Whitton.
The event was a hugely significant step in the development of high performance para bowls and with the standard being so high, and the many compliments the players received, SDS looks forward to working more closely with our partners at Bowls Scotland. The National Championships at Northfield is the pinnacle for all bowlers and we are eager to ensure that the event will be considered in the same light for Scotland’s leading para bowlers.
Full results can be found here