It was a fantastic end to the first day at the UK Boccia Championships 2019, being held at Antrim Forum Leisure Centre in Northern Ireland. The following English players are now through to the semi-finals tomorrow –


BC1 David Smith (ENG) will play Daniel Bentley (ENG) and Daniel Wain (ENG) will play Reegan Stevenson (SCO). The match between former Paralympic team-mates and Beijing Gold medallists David and Dan will be especially interesting following Dan’s recent classification change, though David is the man with the current form (world no.1) whilst Dan is very happy to reach this stage so early in his BC1 career.


BC2 James Clowes (ENG) will play Scott Cromie (NIR) whilst Reshad Saraj (ENG) faces Paralympian Claire Taggart (NIR) ; could it be an all England or all Ireland final?


In the BC3 event there are still matches to play, although with the withdrawal of Patrick Wilson (SCO) the smaller pool is already in a position where we can identify the top 2 places; Will Arnott (ENG) and Scott McCowan (SCO) play off for top honours at 10am. The larger group is less easy to define; Jamie McCowan (SCO) has 3 wins under his belt but has to play Jess Hunter (ENG) tomorrow, who has 2 wins so far. Meanwhile Matt Berry (ENG), also with 2 wins, plays Lee Maddison (ENG). If Matt and Jess both win there will be 3 players tied on 3 wins each and we will need to apply the BISFed protocols in order to be able to separate them; luckily we have the Competition Manual and it’s author here to sort that one out!


The 6 BC4 players are in a round robin with 2 matches left to play each. The three current GB players are leading the pack; Louis Saunders (ENG) and Stephen McGuire (SCO) on 3 wins each and Evie Edwards (ENG) on 2, but Steph still has to play both of the England players and the match between Louis and Steph at 12.30 should be a treat to watch given their recent match history; can the young pretender claim the throne?


Mention should also be made of our other England players who have fought well today but not made the cut. David Smith commented that this UK Championships is “probably the best British there has ever been”, which is testament to the standard of play all round (where half of all players are from England). Beth Moulam and Lee Maddison both had fabulous matches against Jamie McCowan, pushing him each time to secure the win in the last end or the tie-break. Caroline lost on a tie-break to Dan Wain; if that match had gone the other way she could have been in the semi’s rather than him, but in this game those centimetres count! Will Hipwell and Tia Ruel have played well but not made the cut amidst this great competition; I’m sure they will have learnt from their experiences.


Roll on tomorrow and some more great matches; a 10am start with semi-finals at 12.30 and medal matches at 3pm. Check out DSNI (Disability Sports Northern Ireland) on facebook to watch the live streaming