Saturday 2 August 2014

Glasgow 2014 - Days 9 and 10

A bit of culture in the Kelvingrove Museum 
Friday was the culmination of 9 days of hard work and good fun. There were 3 medal matches played through the day. Having already officiated in a Gold Medal match, when I did the Pairs, I was not needed for the final day. We had a nice relaxing morning and then took a leisurely walk down through the parks to the venue at Kelvingrove. Spent a little time in the Kelvingrove Art Museum and listened to an organ recital whilst enjoying a coffee and a sticky bun.

Myself, Daryl & Graham decided we would watch the two medal matches in the afternoon. We took our places in the centre of the main stand which was reserved for technical officials and other accredited people. We were right at the front and could see both the Fours Gold medal match between England and Scotland and the Bronze medal match between Australia and India.

Australia took Bronze, James Irwin Umpiring.
India had performed superbly during the games especially as a developing bowls nation and to find themselves leading Australia for a medal showed their dedication of level of improvement. Unfortunately for them they didn’t have the experience to finish the game off and Australia claimed the Bronze medal after playing an extra end.

In the Gold medal match, the machine that is Scotland dominated. The formidable force of Alex Marshall, Paul Foster, Neil Speirs and David Peacock was just too powerful for the English quartet. I managed to get some decent photos from my vantage point.
Prince Edward is a great supporter of Bowls.
About half way through the game there was some random applause from the crowd and when I looked to see what it was about, Prince Edward was entering the stands. He sat just two rows back from me. I managed to get a couple of photos and a pretty poor attempt at a selfie. At the end of the match, Graham called up to his assistants and gave them one of our umpires badges for which he was grateful and chatted to us for a short while.

The evening game was the Men’s Singles final with Scotland’s Darren Burnett playing against Ryan Bester from Canada. We were disappointed for our mate Graham for not getting the opportunity to Mark the match but he was an umpire for the game. It is the highest accolade a Lawn Bowls Umpire can get to Mark a Commonwealth or World Final and I was proud to have achieved that in Manchester in 2002. Scotland yet again dominated the match and beat Ryan quite comfortably with a 21-9 scoreline.

Team England can be proud of their achievements
England can hold their heads high with their success from these games. Every one of the 11 men and women in the squad walks away with a medal bettering their performance 4 years ago in Delhi. Overall in the Lawn Bowls competition England finished third in the medal table behind South Africa and Scotland. We finished with a Gold, 3 Silvers and 2 Bronze medals. Our total medal count was just 1 less than South Africa so we finished second in that respect but with 5 Golds’ the South African team finished top of the table.

Saturday was a spare day in case competition was delayed by rain or other factors. We have all been very surprised by the weather, indeed we have had some very warm days which have even caught the Scots off guard. So a lazy day was in order on Saturday and typically the only day we don’t have to worry about going to the venue and can please ourselves and it throws it down with rain all day.

Best buddies - the International ITO's
So as I write this final blog from the XX Commonwealth Games in Glasgow on a wet Saturday, I look back at the great memories and the great friendships and team spirit that Team ITO have had. Naturally, groups of people bond with those they know best but overall the team, has bonded very well throughout and it has been a pleasure working and living with some fantastic people for the last 2 weeks.

Can’t wait to get home to my family now and will be travelling home Sunday morning.

Glasgow 2014 has been one of the best and another fantastic experience. I hope you have enjoyed my blogs and have found them of interest.

Goodbye from Glasgow 2014