Scotland had para bowls teams in the B2/B3 Mixed Pairs and B6/B7/B8 Open Triple at the 8 Nations and Para Sport Event at Broadbeach Bowls Club from 3 – 7 June 2016. The event, which contributes to Commonwealth Games qualification, was vital in our preparations as it allowed ten of our leading players to compete against the best players in the world on the fast Australian surfaces.
Scotland had two teams in both the pairs and triples but one team from each was nominated to score the points, whilst the other competed in the round robin in non-scoring matches. The importance of having two teams in the event cannot be underestimated as it allowed a wider pool of players to experience the conditions, whilst also competing for individual places in the Commonwealth Games team that will eventually be announced in November.
Following four intense days of training the coaches and selectors eventually settled on the teams that would compete and which of these would earn the points in the competition.
Visually Impaired Mixed Pair
Irene Edgar and director, David Thomas were selected to lead, whilst Robert Barr and director, Sarah Jane Ewing were selected to skip the B2/B3 Mixed Pair in the event. This was the team that would collect the points for the nation. In the other team, Maria Spencer and Billy Edgar were directed by Ron McArthur and Christine Morrow respectively. The second team performed extremely well, winning three matches, which was matched by our first team. When our two teams went head-to-head, it finished 18 – 11 in favour of Scotland one.
Scotland secured a second place finish in the group and a chance to play Australia Gold in the final. Both players and directors were confident heading into the match, which they eventually lost 22 – 10 but it was a tighter match than the score suggests. A silver medal is a great result in these conditions and finishing behind the Australia pair, who will go into next year’s Games as heavy favourites, is no mean feat.
The players, directors and coaches learned a lot from the two matches against their Australia counterparts, which will stand us in good stead heading into the Gold Coast Games in April next year.
Physically Disabled Open Triple
Barbara McMillan (Lead), Garry Brown (Second) and Mike Nicoll (Skip) were selected to play in the first Scotland team, whilst Billy Allan (Lead), John Wardrope (Second) and Michael Simpson (Skip) were named in the second team. Prior to the competition the players were getting to grips with the conditions and the coaching staff were confident in the bowlers. As it turned out the first team only managed to win one of their matches (against England) leaving Scotland to finish fifth, and outside the medal matches, but ahead of Malaysia who propped up the table. Incidentally, our second team responded to the disappointment of missing out by performing excellently, winning four out of five matches. Ironically, when our two teams went head-to-head in the competition, our first team ran out 18 – 8 victors! Although there was clear frustrations with our finishing position, the coaching staff has learned a lot and the competition amongst players couldn’t be healthier.
The players head for a two day training camp at Musgrave Hill Bowling Club prior to returning Home on Sunday 11 June.
Scottish Disability Sport Performance Manager, Gary Fraser said:
“Overall the competition was an excellent experience and great preparation ahead of the Commonwealth Games next year. We were fortunate to be able to enter two teams into the event, across both disciplines, which helps us enormously. All the players had a chance to travel and play these conditions, which is unlike anything that can be found in Scotland. We are obviously delighted with the performance of the B2/B3 Mixed Pair and the directors, and to deliver a silver medal is pleasing. It was a mixed bag for the B6/B7/B8 Open Triple but we have learned a huge amount. We head into a training camp on Thursday and Friday and we aim to make the most of our time playing on these greens, and refine things further.”