|Scotland Senior Team (photo courtesy of Anne Symons)|
This is the first Scotland team to win a medal at these championships, a terrific achievement (although Scots have won medals as part of Great Britain teams prior to 2000). This performance has earned Scotland a place in the World Team Championships in Bali next year and I hope that the SBU and selectors give this team first refusal for the right to compete for the d'Orsi Senior Bowl.
It was an exciting final match. Scotland started in second place but, with third-placed Poland beating leaders France heavily, all three teams were suddenly very close. The first eleven boards were actually fairly boring, but the final five were all exciting and Scotland fell down to third place when two slam swings went against them.
Even though I'm sure this was a disappointing finish, in the context of the entire tournament this is a wonderful performance by the team. I must admit that they have impressed me. When I first saw the teams I thought that they stood an outside chance of sixth place. Then I saw most of the team play in the Senior Camrose and mentally relegated them to mid-table as their performance was so poor in a very weak field. But they have really upped their game for this championship and fully deserve their medal.
I know that the players have been supported all the way by their captain. Actually it seems that he has supported, cajoled, threatened and, frankly, bullied them over the past few months to train and practice, involving numerous BBO matches. All of us who know Harry will know that this will have been done with a bubbly enthusiasm and I hope that he is buying the bubbly this afternoon!
The team will move on to Lille, with Brian Short and Alan Goodman replacing Derek and Victor. The competition will be tougher, especially with the Americans there, but for the first-time ever a Scotland team will be going to the Olympiad with expectations and under pressure to medal. Not a situation many would have expected eleven days ago.
Hopefully will have some photos early next week.