Kelso players celebrate hat-trick of league championships

Back, from left, Jean Pierre Crosingny, Jane Turnbull, Marcia Lauder, Ellis Dickinson, Clair McKenzie, Jordan Shepherd. Middle, from left, Brian Boardman, Ann Parker, Bernadette Smith, Lisa Galbraith, Ronald Townsend, Heather Burton, David Silk. Front, coach David Laing. Inset, Nick Thomson. Players not pictured were Wayne Wilkinson, Roisin O'Donnell and Dean McClorey.
Back, from left, Jean Pierre Crosingny, Jane Turnbull, Marcia Lauder, Ellis Dickinson, Clair McKenzie, Jordan Shepherd. Middle, from left, Brian Boardman, Ann Parker, Bernadette Smith, Lisa Galbraith, Ronald Townsend, Heather Burton, David Silk. Front, coach David Laing. Inset, Nick Thomson. Players not pictured were Wayne Wilkinson, Roisin O'Donnell and Dean McClorey.

Kelso Gliders have won the Borders Boccia League for the third successive season – but they certainly had a fight on their hands in 2019.

Galashiels Gladiators pushed them all the way to the final game and both teams finished on nine points – but Kelso won comfortably on count back of games for and against.

David Laing, head coach at Kelso, who also coaches with Ryan Evans at Galashiels, emphasised how proud he was in the performance of both teams in the precision ball sport, similar to bowls.

League teams were made up of a minimum of six players but, during the 2019 season, David’s team selection plan, which allowed for maximum participation in competitive play – with 14-17 different individual players from Kelso and 12-15 from Galashiels – appeared very much to be a successful format.

This has not been the only success for Kelso Gliders, as three individual players have won four medals (three silver and one bronze) between them in Scottish Disability Sport Regional Learning Disability competitions.

The most recent was when Lisa Galbraith was the gallant runner-up in the Women’s LD category, only losing out in a tie break game in the final.

The other medallists were Nick Thomson, who won silver in a competition in Edinburgh, and also Brian Boardman, who won a silver and bronze in last year’s Regional Competitions.

More Borders players are keen to enter SDS Regional Competitions throughout Scotland to gain more experience but all competitions are held on a Saturdays throughout the year. Minibus availability with drivers remains a stumbling block, as does the extra commitment required from support staff, and Borders Boccia Group is continually trying to resolve this.

David said making the training and coaching fun at Kelso, as well as competitive, and the mutual respect between the coach and players, were of paramount importance.

The volunteers and support staff played a big part in the success at the club.