A gold medal apiece for Scotland’s Scott McCowan (BC3) and Stephen McGuire (BC4) ensured it was their country on top of the medal table when the two-day UK Boccia Championships came to a close in Antrim Northern Ireland on Sunday (16 June).
In the BC3 category, two-time Paralympian McCowan had finished second in his pool which meant that in the semi-final he was pitted against his brother Jamie who had topped his. In a tight match, Scott edged out his younger brother, winning 4-3 and setting up a Scotland v England final against Matt Berry. Berry had recently taken the silver medal at the Boccia England Cup in Sheffield in May and was hoping to take home a different colour this time. However, even though he forced a tie-break, it was the more experienced Scott McCowan who claimed gold, giving his father Gary, who is his ramp assistant, the perfect Fathers’ Day present.
It was Scotland v England again in both medal matches in the BC4 category. Scotland’s Stephen McGuire beat England’s Louis Saunders 7-2 in the Gold medal match, maintaining his 100% record in these championships. The battle for bronze also went Scotland’s way with Ross Munro beating Evie Edwards 6-3.
However, the standings were reversed in the BC1 category with reigning World and Paralympic Champion David Smith MBE in commanding form, winning his semi-final 11-0 against fellow English player Dan Bentley, a score which he repeated in the final against Scotland’s Reegan Stevenson. In the all-England bronze medal match, it was Daniel Wain who came out on top, beating Dan Bentley 6-4.
But it was Northern Ireland’s Claire Taggart who got the biggest cheer from the home crowd when she beat England’s James Clowes 4-0 in the Gold medal match. The home crowd were also hoping that their countryman Scott Cromie could also bag a medal in the bronze medal match but it wasn’t to be as England’s Reshad Saraj finished on top 3-2.
Commenting on the event and the results, Boccia UK Performance Director Helen Nicholls said: ”We have seen some outstanding Boccia played here this weekend and I’ve been really impressed with the performances and the attitude of all the players. Playing against the world ranked players has been a great experience for the pathway players and they have shown that they are pushing hard to improve. With just over a year to go to Tokyo, being tested on home soil is great for the World Class Programme athletes too.
“The Championships were played in a great spirit so a huge thank you to the volunteers and Disability Sport Northern Ireland for all their hard work in making it such a success and enjoyable weekend.”
The championships were hosted by Disability Sport Northern Ireland (DSNI) were sponsored by Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council and TBC Conversions.