Northern Ireland’s top boccia players made their mark recently at the GB National Championships.
Local Larne athlete Claire Taggart brought home a silver medal from the two-day event – which was held at Napier University in Edinburgh,
The tournament was open to the top players from each home country in the hope of finding the next GB Champion and potential future Paralympians.
Players David Todd (Belfast), Claire Taggart (Larne), Scott Cromie (Rathfriland) and William Graham (Fermanagh), who all competed in individual events during the course of the weekend, were selected due to their performances at the Disability Sport NI Boccia League and Performance Squad. While Claire, Scott and William were returning competitors from last year’s event, David was making his NI debut.
All players had difficult first matches and none more so that Taggart and Cromie who faced one other in their first pool game. After a nail biting draw after four ends, the game went to tie break with Claire winning 5-2.
Claire, who is a member of the GB Boccia squad and a contender for the 2016 Paralympic Games continued her winning streak and secured her place in the final, narrowly missing out on gold position to Welsh player Martin Davies.
Newcomer David Todd proved himself worthy of his place on the team, pushing his competitors all the way and challenging for every point. Although very unlucky not to secure a win David will be one to watch a next year’s Championships.
After his unlucky result against Claire, Scott Cromie had a difficult game against GB player Will Hipwell but managed to compose himself and secure a win in his final game against Welshman Ricky Stevenson. Fermanagh’s William Graham faced tough competition against Welsh player Sian Jones and was unlucky not to secure points of GB player Will Hipwell in the last two ends of his final match.
Team Manager Elaine Reid, Performance Officer of Disability Sport NI said: “We are delighted to have a team competing in the GB National Championships, this is only the second year that Northern Ireland has entered, so to be challenging for medals is just fantastic.
“I’m delighted with how the team performed, and the players have learned alot from their matches so we will be looking to achieve even more at next year’s event. “