Cedars Academy claim U19's National Boccia championships crown
The 2014 finals of the Lord's Taverners U19 National Boccia Championship took place earlier today at Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, Sheffield, where The Cedars Academy (Gateshead) took home the national title.
No fewer than 385 boccia teams have taken part in the Lord's Taverners county competitions during the 2013-2014 season, with 1,400 young people from 263 schools getting involved in playing the disability sport. Seventy-five teams progressed to 10 regional heats, with the following teams progressing through to the national finals in Sheffield:
• Pendle Vale Community High School, Nelson (North West)
• The Cedars Academy, Gateshead (North East)
• Danum Academy, Doncaster (Yorkshire)
• The Streetly Academy, Sutton (West Midlands)
• St George’s Academy, Sleaford (East Midlands)
• Longdean School, West Hertfordshire (East)
• The Westgate School, Slough (Central)
• West Lea School, Enfield (London)
• Brimsham Green School, South Gloucester (South West 1)
• Queen Elizabeth’s School, Winborne (South West 2)
• Angmering School, Littlehampton (South East)
The Streetly Academy and Pendle Vale, The Westgate, West Lea and Longdean schools were competing in the finals for the first time. Danum Academy were the 2013 champions while The Cedars Academy have won the competition twice before.
The Lord’s Taverners has invested over £5 million in providing sporting and recreational opportunities for young people with disabilities, with over 3,600 disabled young people took part in Lord’s Taverners wheelchair basketball and boccia competitions last year.
Over 400 young people have received training on the Boccia Young Officials course to support the competitions, with 12 being selected from across the country to referee at the national finals supported by international and national referees.
Boccia is a disability sport where players aim to propel balls close to a target ball. Two sides compete as individuals, pairs or as a team of three over a set number of ends. Points are accumulated over the course of a match to find a winner.
A ball can be rolled, thrown or kicked. If a player is unable to throw or kick the ball, they can use a ramp. If players are unable to release the ball with their hands, they can use assistive devices.
To top off The Cedars Academy's day a member of their team, Rebecca Morton, was named the 2014 Lord`s Taverners Young Boccia Player of the Year.
Director of Specialism, Liz Neale, The Cedars Academy: “This is such a worthwhile competition to enter. It is one of the few competitive opportunities for young people with a physical disability, giving them a clear pathway from county, region and through to National level as a team. It also allows the young officials to follow the same pathway. The level of competition has grown substantially from the beginnings back in 2009 and the Lord`s Taverners programme is now attracting the top level players in the country so encouraging play to the highest possible level. Rebecca started playing at school level in the Taverners programme but is now taking the sport really seriously and is very keen to make the England squad.”
Boccia England's U19’s Programme Manager, Mary Johnson said: "This has been a fantastic programme from year one when only 8 teams and 30 competitors took part. It has grown rapidly and this year 385 teams were involved with 1,468 players. The working relationship between Boccia England and the Lord's Taverners has made this programme the great success that it is, and long may it continue to give young people with a physical disability a very competitive and enjoyable sporting opportunity."