Borders bowler Mike Nicolls is thrilled finally to have an opportunity which he thought had cruelly eluded him.
The Jed-Forest player has been selected for the 2018 Commonwealth Games para-bowling squad – granting him a lifelong ambition to represent his country.
Mike got the news he’d be part of Team Scotland in Gold Coast, Australia, just days after after winning the Disability Award at the ClubSport Roxburgh ceremony.
He feared he may have been swindled out of the chance to ever play for Scotland when he was diagnosed 17 years ago with Peripheral Neuropathy.
But, after adapting his life and his game to the condition, he has reached a new level of para-bowling form, which has been deservedly rewarded.
“It means the world to me,” he said. “I have always wanted to play for my country and it’s been an ambiton of mine for years.”
Mike (60) spent four years in the Paras after leaving school and, when he came out, he started working as a farm dairyman on various farms throughout the country.
Always keen on bowls, he played at several clubs during his travels, winning the respective club championships in all three clubs at which he played.
During this time, he was selected to play for the various county teams, having represented Angus, Aberdeen, Kincardinshire and Forfar.
He was told he had the Peripheral Neurothapy condition in 2000 and, while it has affected his health, it did not diminish his spirit, as bowls gave him back a purpose.
In 2010, Mike moved to the Borders and joined Spittal Bowling Club. Four years later, he moved back across to Jedburgh with his partner Janie and immediately joined the town’s local bowling club, which he described as: “An inclusive bowling club, exceptionally catering for disabled bowlers.”
With Jedburgh BC, he has been part of the team which has won the Border Bowling Knock Out Cup and the Border League. He was also part of the 10-man team from Jedburgh which won the Border Top 10, and went on with that team to represent the Borders in the National Top 10 Competition.
In 2015, Mike won the gold medal at Northfield Ayr (home of bowling’s national championship) in Disability Bowls B6 category. He was then selected to represent Scotland at Newport in the Home Internationals. After that came selection for Scotland’s Commonwealth extended squad in Australia earlier this year – in preparation for next year’s Commonwealth Games.
Mike was next chosen for the Scottish team, playing at Nottingham, and hoped his recent form would be good enough to carry him into the Scottish Commonwealth squad. Perhpaps fittingly on St Andrews’s Day, he discovered was, when Team Scotland was announced.
Mike also acknowledged the support of Jedburgh BC, ClubSport Roxburgh and Live Borders.