The 2017 National Boccia Open for non-BISFed classes was held again at the excellent Engage Centre at the Sighthill Campus of Napier University.
SDS would like to extend their gratitude to the Celtic FC Foundation who have financially supported this event this year and allows SDS to provide a quality competitive opportunity for our players in Scotland, many of whom qualified for this event by succeeding in their regional championships.
This event is part of the new National Boccia Open Series alongside the inaugural International event held in October at Inverclyde and is a development of the restructuring of the Boccia calendar that took place in 2014. There are now many more quality competitive opportunities for our Boccia players in Scotland alongside an opportunity for increased match-time at these events. To validate this restructuring it is imperative the sport continues to grow. Boccia is clearly a sport which a wide demographic people enjoy playing and competing in and SDS feel it is important to ensure the competition pathway in this sport remains accessible for all players. To this end we encourage entries to both events from outside of Scotland and we were delighted to see that many of 2016’s champions returned to defend their titles, including players from outside these borders.
England’s Derek Sked – Section A Champion in 2015 & 2016 – was pushed all the way by the Borders’ Neil McMurdo – playing in his first national championships. Derek prevailed in the final by 4 shots to 3 but only by winning two shots on the final end of the match.
Section B was again split into two sections: Male and Female. This time there was a new name on the roster for the male section as last year’s winner James Muirhead didn’t progress through the group stages in what was a hugely competitive field. Michael Gilooly from Kirkriggs defeated the experienced Darren Rooney from Forth Valley in an entertaining final.
Last year’s winner in the female section, Jodie Lavin, was sadly unable to join us this year however, Kirsty McCallum ensured the title stayed in Lothian as she defeated Dundee’s Rebekah Perry in the final by 5 shots to 1. The No Limits athlete had previously won the title in 2012 and 2008 so completes her hat-trick of titles in this category.
The Junior section did not run this year so all junior players competed in the relevant adult section, many with great distinction. The final award of the day was the Dundee Trophy which is awarded to the most improved junior each year. This year the trophy was awarded to Kyle Latto from Dundee Boccia Club in recognition of his development this year.
A huge thanks must go to Lothian Disability Sport for assisting in hosting this event. A lot of work has been done in the region to progress Boccia and the fact they are hosting this national event is testament to the efforts of the many volunteers and staff from across the country that have helped with the event in terms officiating and supporting players to attend.
The standard of play across Scotland has gone from strength to strength and has certainly benefited from the increased number of players taking part at local level.
On behalf of Scottish Disability Sport and Lothian Disability Sport, we would like to take this opportunity to wish all players, clubs and teams every success in the competition.