Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Gold Coast 2018 - The End

Apologies for the delay posting this final blog, I have been in the wilderness with little or no WI-FI.

The last couple of days competition on Thursday and Friday saw more medal matches being played in the Mens Fours, Womens Triples and Mens singles disciplines

History was made yet again as the incredible Alex Marshall became the most decorated Scottish Athlete, in any sport, following a win in the Fours over Australia. A truly incredible achievement as he surpassed Alan Wells previous record. 2018 has been the most successful games for Scotland with a medal tally of 2 Gold, 1 Silver for the Men, a silver and bronze for the ladies making a total of 5 coming second only to the hosts with 7.

In the Women’s Triples, England played in the Bronze medal match and came out on top 20-12 against Canada. The Gold was won by the Australian team defeating Scotland 21-12.
The following day, the last of the Lawn Bowls Competition, in the Womens pairs, Malaysia defeated South Africa by just 1 shot with Scotland taking the Bronze.  

A relaxed introduction before the Men's
Bronze match
The atmosphere for the finals of the mens singles was something I have never experienced before. Australias debutant, Aaron Wilson faced Broadbeach Bulls member and Canadian national, Ryan Bester. I was honoured to mark the Bronze medal match between Darren Burnett of Scotland and Robert Paxton of England. The noise from the packed stands was amazing and created a goose bump atmosphere. Robert was the eventual winner giving England a further medal. Thank you to my Laws Committee colleagues, Trevor Davies and Mark Cowan for their support umpiring the final. I did try to get them on the rink but in the end they were not needed.

At work in the Bronze match
In the close fought final the Australia machine continued to dominate as Aarron Wilson collected another Gold Medal for the host nation.

There has been a lot of discussion at the venue and in the media about the noise and atmosphere. Music was played in the background constantly for the duration of the games which, in my opinion, was a positive addition and didn’t seem to affect any players. This coupled with the volume of the supporting crowd it all helped to produce an incredible atmosphere. Yes there was some sledging and yes some of the shouts were perhaps a little inappropriate but there is a fine balance providing a great atmosphere and the effect of a few beers.

The 2018 Trashers Trophy
Following the last game of the 2018 Lawn Bowls competition it was time for the most important match of the whole event – The Trashers Trophy. This has been competed across the past three Commonwealth Games and World Bowls Championships. A hotly contested fours match between Australia and England Technical Officials. Only few ends but highly competitive with amble quantities of banter. It is a great was or us to bond and relax – and this year we had a new revamped trophy.  Unfortunately, with a little bit of match fixing and alleged bowl tampering, the Aussies came the eventual winners.

Meeting a Koala

On Saturday we had a free day as competition had finished. Dan Bluett and myself visited the excellent Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary where we were able to hold a Koala and stroke a Red Kangaroo. It’s an amazing place doing great work for Australias wildlife. The final evening for all ITO’s was spend at a lovely restaurant in Broadbeach as we enjoyed a meal and drink together as a whole team.

It has been an excellent games with great friendships rekindled and new friendships made with officials from around the world. I personally feel this was the best games for camaraderie in the team. Personally, I am extremely honoured and proud to have represented English Technical Officials at my fifth consecutive games. I am also very proud of my English colleagues, Dan, Ray and Angie who have excelled in their professionalism during these games.

One of the many falls in
Springbrook National Park
The majority of officials have now left the Gold Coast returning to their respective corners of the globe. I am staying on for four more days visiting the amazing Springbrook National Park and the Glass House Mountains before returning to blighty on Thursday.

Gold Coast 2018 has been the friendly, inclusive games that have united the Commonwealth hosted by the most amazing city. I will have memories that will last for ever.

Thanks to all of you that have taken the time to read my waffle and for your kind comments I hope it has given a bit of a closer insight into the Games.  Until next time G’Day!!

An amazing team of ITO's 

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