Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Glasgow 2014 - Days 5 and 6

Scotland win the Pairs with England taking the Bronze
We are in to the final week of the games now and on Monday my only session of the day was the afternoon Men’s Pairs Gold Medal match. I was one of the two umpires for this match between Scottish legends, Paul Foster and Alex Marshall and Malaysia.
The atmosphere at the venue was incredible with the main stand and the rink side stand being completely full I had to pick my spot to stand carefully to avoid abuse for blocking anybody’s view of the game. I think it was predictable that Scotland would dominate this match but I don’t think anyone could have predicted just how much they did dominate. It was not until the 12th end of 18 that the Malaysians were able to add a score to the board making it 19 – 2
I had a couple of measures to do during the game one of which needed assistance from my colleague and a long string. One of the leaning bowls was wedged by the Malaysian lead using a cloth which must have looked really good on TV!
The Malaysians waved the white flag at 15 ends with a final score of 20 shots to 3 at Alex and Paul added yet another medal to their impressive haul.
Andrew and Sam claim the Bronze medal
England's pairing of Andrew Knapper and Sam Tolchard came away with the Bronze medal with is a fabulous achievement.

We decided to walk home from the venue again and were joined by local Alastair Douglas who is acting as deputy head ITO at the games. He took us through the University which overlook the greens at Kelvingrove. What an impressive building, stunning architecture and so much history.

On Tuesday it was another early start with breakfast at 6:30am ready for the first bus to the venue at 6:55am. It was grey and overcast and slightly drizzly so we didn’t hang about setting the greens and timing them before a nice warm coffee. My first session was umpiring 2 rinks of Para-sport Open Triples. Officiating for players with disabilities is an incredibly humbling experience and you have to admire the players abilities. The Para-sport Open Triples is open to mixed or single sex teams of 3 players with category B6, B7 and B8 disabilities. Some players are wheelchair bound and some have prosthetic limbs or limbs missing. They play with two bowls each over 15 ends and can have assistance on the green for wheelchair movement and placing the mat.  

Bob Love from England
On one rink 3 wheelchair bound Welsh athletes took on Scotland and on the other 3 English players took on Malaysia. Probably the most impressive display came from the English lead Bob Love. Bob has no arms and bowls barefoot by placing the bowl on a specially constructed overshoe on his right foot. It is incredible to watch the accuracy and skill that he displays. There were quite a few measures during the session as the players very much depend on umpires to carry out all the measures for them. England beat Malaysia 19 shots to 9 and Scotland beat Wales 16 shots to 8. It was a great morning and a brilliant experience.

Off to Specsavers today!!
My next session was in the afternoon and I was honoured to mark for Darren Burnett, Scotlands Singles representative against Matt Le Ber from Guernsey on the TV rink. I know both players and have marked for Darren many times on the World Bowls Tour events. It was a brilliant game to mark and the standard of bowling was excellent considering the rink was particularly tricky. It does seem a bit strange that rinks with tricky lines are used for TV games as it does not so the best standard of bowls. I was reasonably happy with the way the game went from my point of view but I was off to a shaky start by calling only one shot to Darren which turned out on a measure to be easily Matt’s. I was just getting my eyes warmed up and in the following end I apologised to Darren and promised that I would be straight down to Specsavers. Darren came out the winner with a 21 – 12 score line The crowd were noisy and the atmosphere electric and it was a great game to mark.

We are entering the final stages of competition now with the Men’s Singles sectional play well underway leading to the Gold medal match on Friday. Our sessions are very much decided on the day and mostly we are only getting one session per day now. A chance to try and battle our way through the crowds in the city centre and get the last minute gifts

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