The Scottish Disability Sport Para Bowls team competed at the Home Nation Championships at the Newport Indoor Bowls Stadium in Wales from Friday 21st April to Sunday 23rd April.
Teams from England, Wales and Scotland competed in singles, pairs, triples and fours across the physically disabled and visually impaired sections, for the honour of being crowned Home Nations Champions. This was the first of two of these events in an extremely busy year, with the focus being Commonwealth Games 2018 qualification.
The Scottish programme is buoyed with talent at present and a team of twenty seven bowlers, directors and coaches were selected to compete and defend the trophy won in 2016 at Kelvingrove International Bowls Centre in Glasgow. Scotland traditionally excel in the outdoor environment, however indoor bowls is a completely different proposition, which has historically been England’s forte.
Indoor bowls has become the priority heading into the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games due to the lightening quick green speeds that will welcome our players in Australia. No outdoor surface in Scotland can replicate that environment and as a result Scotland’s indoor play has improved dramatically.
The format of the event dictated that each match was worth two points, with 48 being available across the weekend. Scotland’s target was 32 – enough to win the competition – but in the end we had to settle for 30, resulting in a runners up place with England lifting the trophy. Ultimately, one more victory against England would have been enough, and there were numerous close matches across several rinks, but it wasn’t to be.
Scotland congratulate England on their success but our coaching team have taken many positives from the performances, which included varying combinations of players, formations and directors that was tested against tough international opponents. Furthermore, several new players made their international debut and it was a great opportunity for the players and staff to travel together and build upon the already strong team dynamic. In the long run this will aid the Scottish preparations for the Multi-Nations event at the beginning of June, which will ultimately qualify the nation for the Games itself.
There were several notable performances across the board but the team, via Captain Michael Simpson, highlighted John Wardrope (B7) for special mention. He was the only member of the squad to win all four of the games he competed, with a string of mature performances in two pair’s ties, alongside Martin Hunter and two fours ties, alongside Billy Allan, Barbara McMillan and Michael Simpson.
SDS would like to thank all the coaches, players and directors for their efforts over the course of the weekend and throughout the year thus far.
For a full list of players please click here.