The 38th annual Scottish Disability Sport National Carpet Bowls Championships took place at Dundee International Sports Complex (DISC) on February 3 2018.
This event traditionally is one of the first major events in the competition year and brings together many of the nation’s leading indoor and outdoor bowlers. The quality of the bowling on show was frequently of the highest level and yet again demonstrated the standard of bowler regularly playing in Scotland.
Leisure & Culture Dundee and Dundee City Disability Sport proved to be excellent hosts and DISC is a venue ideally suited to the hosting of this Championships, indeed the carpets which for years had been transported from Glasgow will now take up new residence at the centre in lieu of the event being based here for the foreseeable future. Many thanks to all staff involved in the set-up of this event, especially Gordon Quinton, Darren Thomson and his two sons, and Carol Duncan.
This year saw players from Highland, Fife, Lothian, Glasgow, South Lanarkshire and host branch Dundee compete over 5 sections to determine the leading carpet para-bowlers in the country. There was a very slight increase from Lothian and Highland branches and it was gratifying to see a further slight increase in the sections with a learning disability. More identification work is required to unearth bowlers with a physical and sensory disability and SDS and Bowls Scotland will continue to identify bowlers through the grassroots programmes within schools, clubs and branches. SDS Bowls Performance Development Manager Ron McArthur continues to develop the Regional Indoor Hubs. Allied to an extensive Coach Education programme and the comprehensive national events programme the sport is well placed to ensure existing and new para-bowlers in all classifications are well catered for in accessible sessions and competition structure.
The event featured multiple matches only decided by one point which served to highlight the competitive nature of the event.
After a successful year in 2017 which saw Team Highland celebrating their first trophy in almost two decades with Evan MacKintosh victorious in the Wheelchair section, they went one better this year with victories in 2 out of the 5 sections. It was the same final as 2017 and history repeated itself as Evan proved too strong emerging the victor by 14 shots to 2.
In the Mixed Ambulant & B3 section Lothian’s Neil Shirley a two-time winner of this event played Fife’s Billy Allan, a winner in this event four times. Following a clean sweep in the group section Billy was unfortunate to meet Neil Shirley, who had left his best bowls until the final, in excellent form.
In the all-Fife section for restricted ambulant & B2 bowlers two former champions went head to head again. Neil Laughlin – champion in 2017 – eventually lost to his stable-mate Kenny Dow, when he retire due to illness whilst ten shots down in the final.
A new name is on the trophy for the section for male bowlers with a learning disability. This section is always extremely competitive which was illustrated by last year’s champion Andrew Harrison making an exit in the first round to Lothian’s Euan Wright. Ultimately, though, it was Highland’s Phillip Hendry who played magnificently to edge the final 15-13 on the final hooter, despite losing the last 7 points of the match.
In the female section last year’s finalist Amanda Craig from Lothian played Glasgow’s Debbie Fotheringham. A slow start for the Lothian bowler saw Debbie take a commanding lead which ultimately proved too much to return from despite a stirring late comeback from Amanda.
Thanks as ever go to our Fife office – Norma Buchanan and Richard Brickley MBE who prepared the programme and draw for the event, with Norma providing crucial administration support on the day. Further thanks to Ron McArthur and Gordon McCormack OBE, Chairperson of the Glasgow Disability Sport branch for their support of this event.
Officials from local Bowling Clubs all provided officials for the day and without this input the event simply would not be possible. The support was again significant with almost 30 officials attending on the day and SDS are indebted to all who attended.
This continues to be an incredibly exciting period for bowls in Scotland as preparations for the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast gathers momentum and national attention now turns to the SDS National Indoor Championships in April at Falkirk IBC.
Photo: Winners at the 2018 SDS Carpet Bowls Championships: L to R: Phillip Hendry (Highland), Neil Shirley (Lothian), Evan MacKintosh (Highland), Kenny Dow (Fife) and Debbie Fotheringham (Glasgow).