2017 SDS National Carpet Bowls Championships

Group photo of 2017 winners

The 37th annual Scottish Disability Sport National Carpet Bowls Championships took place at Dundee International Sports Complex (DISC) on February 4 2017.

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 we hope to return in 2018 to the same venue. Many thanks to all staff involved in the set-up of this event, especially Gordon Quinton, Darren Thomson, Carol Duncan and Sam Thomson.

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. It was gratifying to see an increase in the sections with a learning disability and to welcome back the bowlers from a branch with a strong bowling history, South Lanarkshire. More development 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 is gathering a picture of provision and accessibility amongst bowling clubs in Scotland and is developing the Regional Indoor Hubs with 4 clubs evidencing progress. 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.

Interestingly, none of last year’s title winners were able to retain their trophy this year, which only serves to prove the level of competition evident each year at these championships.

Team Highland were celebrating their first trophy in almost two decades with Evan MacKintosh victorious in the Wheelchair section. With previous champion Wullie Harrison in the draws it was certainly well contested. It was, however, another Fife bowler who won through to contest the final with Evan. In a group where three bowlers finished on the same points, Theresa Wyse from Central Fife progressed to the final thanks to her superior points difference, partly achieved with her victory over her stablemate Wullie, however, Evan proved too strong in the final emerging the victor by 11 shots to 4.

In the Mixed Ambulant & B3 section the clever money was on a repeat of the 2016 final between Fife’s Billy Allan – a Commonwealth Games 2014 representative and a member of the current Games squad for 2018 – against Lothian’s Jimmy Restorick. Billy won the 2016 final which brought his title tally to four and he was keen to add the fifth this time around, however the roles were to be reversed this year with Restorick, the Prestonpans bowler in scintillating form and not allowing his experienced opponent from Cowdenbeath a foothold in the final.

In the all-Fife section for restricted ambulant & B2 bowlers two former champions went head to head. Eleanor Clark from Kirkcaldy lost a narrow final to Central Fife’s Neil Laughlin

Fife’s Craig Donaldson has shown incredible consistency in the section for male bowlers with a learning disability, contesting many finals over the years and has also won titles in this section. He was beaten by Lothian’s Alan Gordon – who exited at the semi-final stage this year – in 2016 and it is worth noting that the quality of bowler in this section is remarkable. Andrew Harrison, a previous multiple winner in this section and conqueror of Alan Gordon in the semis, from South Lanarkshire was the man to defeat Craig on this occasion in an incredibly tight affair, Harrison completing the victory 21-19 in a match that kept a ferocious pace throughout.

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, Bob Christie – Director of Development at Bowls Scotland, 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 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 on national attention turns to the new SDS National Indoor Championships in April at Falkirk IBC.

Photo Credit: James Mackie

Photo: L to R: Christine Fisher (Dundee), Evan MacKintosh (Highland), Amanda Craig (Lothian), Neil Laughlin (Fife), Andrew Harrison (S. Lanarkshire) and Jimmy Restorick (Lothian).