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East Fife Sports Council

We cover the wards of Tay Bridgehead, St Andrews, East Neuk & Landward (incl Lundin Links), Cupar, Ceres & Springfield and Howe of Fife & Taycoast

Welcome to the East Fife Sports Council website. We strive to be a progressive and forward-thinking Sports Council and our aim is to see more people participating in sport and physical recreation and thereby enjoying its benefits.

We provide advice and assistance with the development of all sports, competitions and other events as considered desirable. We also assist in the formation of sports clubs where none exist, or where existing clubs are unable to fulfil current needs.

Latest News

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New Year honour for one of the most respected figures in Scottish sport.

The news many of us in Disability Sport Fife and Scottish Disability Sport have been waiting for arrived today. Life long volunteer Bob Dick has been awarded an MBE in the New Years Honours list. Bob has offered years of service to Bowls Scotland and for almost two decades fully committed to the development of Para bowls in Scotland. Over and above national and international commitments Bob is a committed Duffus Park Bowling Club member who has served his time with East Fife Sports Council.

I first met Bob Dick when I moved from employment at Glasgow University to working for Fife Council. We first met socially through mutual friends and then Bob organised a bowls coaching course in the 80s for Disability Sport Fife as part of his coaching role with Bowls Scotland. Then as Bob indicates the article below we worked together to try and raise the performances of Para bowlers at national and international level. Bob made an immediate impact when he was charged with the responsibility of managing an amazing Scottish Para bowls triple at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002.

Pre 2002 several Scottish Para bowlers, as members of Spinal Injuries Scotland or the Scottish Paraplegic Association, won bowling medals at home and overseas in international events. Scotland was fortunate to have two of them, John Robertson and Ivan Prior, in the team for Manchester in 2002. David Heddle MBE from Fraserburgh was Scotland’s most successful ambulant Para bowler of all time winning a Para bowls medal at the Paralympic Games in Atlanta, the last occasion Para bowls was on the Paralympic Games programme.

Many visually impaired Scottish bowlers established themselves on the world stage and have continued to contribute significantly to Scottish pan disability teams. Scottish Disability Sport set up the first Scottish Lawn Bowls Championships at Glasgow Green in the mid 70s and organised the Scottish team for the IBD World Championships in Kuala Lumper prior to Bob’s involvement in 2000.

Bob Dick has devoted many years to local, national and international bowls. Bob has always had specific areas of responsibility at local and national level and SDS was extremely fortunate to secure his services in Manchester and for almost two decades thereafter. Bob is highly respected throughout the bowls world and the amount of time he continues to commit to bowls as a volunteer is incredible.

As well as being industrious, reliable and hardworking, Bob is a man of immense integrity, consistency and honesty who understands the principles of inclusive practice. Bob is a champion of the Para bowlers he has always tried to support, develop and inspire as a former international bowler himself. Bob was recognised recently at sportscotland coach and volunteer awards for the immense contribution he has made to bowls over many years. Below are Bob's reflections on two decades involved with Para bowls in Scotland.

The award of MBE for Bob Dick will be a popular announcement in local and national sport. Bob is a very unassuming man but I am sure he and wife Anne and family will be so proud of all that Bob has achieved in the sport of bowls on so many levels over so many years at this particular time.

Richard Brickley OBE MBE Chairman DSF (SCIO) Board of Charity Trustees

The journey of Bob Dick into Para bowls.

In 2000, I was appointed the Men’s Bowling Team Manager for the Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002. The bowling team incorporated Para bowlers for the first time and I was asked by Richard Brickley OBE, Chairman of Scottish Disability Sport at the time, to manage the Men’s Para bowls triple. To be fair, I thought that this was, perhaps, automatic, but it did not appear that it was, necessarily, the case. However, I had no hesitation in accepting the responsibility.

The rest, they say is history, as in addition to the men’s pairs, the Para bowls triple won the gold medal. The Para bowls team comprised of Ivan Prior, a steady lead, the superbly talented David Heddle in the middle and the efficient leader, John Robertson at skip. I can well remember the final against Wales when the rain increased in intensity as the game progressed. To be truthful, it was just a matter of physical strength in the end. However, as we scored a six at the first end, I certainly did not want the match concluded, and we went on to win by three shots.

To be the manager of a team that won two gold medals is an incredible feeling, but as far as the Para bowlers were concerned, that was the end of the story – or so I thought. Richard kept coming back to me to manage the Scottish team at different venues, and up until the end of 2004, I, mostly, could not accept due to my Team Manager duties with the Scottish Bowling Association.

Although I did carry out some duties during the period in 2003 and 2004, I became much more heavily involved from 2005 onwards. Normally, there was a Scotland/England International every year, and the pattern was quite uniform in that each country won on home soil. Team Scotland bucked the trend in 2010, when they won at Gedling IBC in Nottingham. Latterly, the Internationals became Tri-Nations when Wales entered the fray. England have enjoyed the better of these events, but on my last event in 2019 at Glasgow IBC, Scotland and England shared the spoils in their matches, but England won the series due to their better record against Wales.

My first event abroad for Scottish Disability Sport (SDS) was the 2007 International Bowls for the Disabled (IBD) World Championships in Manly, near Sydney, Australia. Our medal collection in the section for visually impaired bowlers was a singles B1 silver for Ada Meikle, a bronze in B1 mixed pairs for Ada and George Gourlay and a bronze for Alex Soudan, Shirley Ann Harris and Harry Harris in the triples.

In the section for physically disabled bowlers there were no medals, but the late James Smith came close. The ladies triple missed out on two games because one of the players became ill. In my report on the event, the main concern was the lack of bowling expertise to assist the bowlers with visual impairments. This was taken on board, and Richard was happy that for the next IBD event, we would have the necessary coaching expertise within the team of directors. One of the coaches who came into the team was Ron McArthur and he became my assistant. Ron has considerable knowledge of disability bowling, particularly in relation to visually impaired bowlers, and his expertise was invaluable at subsequent events.

The next IBD Championships were in Pretoria, South Africa in 2011 and once again Scotland selected an excellent squad of bowlers and coaches. This paid great dividends, with three gold and three bronze medals and they were equally split between the physically and visually impaired bowlers. In the section for physically impaired bowlers, Kevin Wallace won a gold in the singles and a bronze in the pairs with Michael Simpson. John Hughes added a bronze in the singles. There were two gold medals for the visually impaired bowlers. I can well recall that when Irene Edgar and Robert Conway won the pairs gold, Robert said to me that this was the first time that he had ever defeated South Africa. Maria Spencer won the B4 ladies event, and the final medal went to Shirley Ann Harris in the B3 Singles. All the directors for the bowlers with a visual impairment were dedicated coaches and were the vital link to success.

If the 2011 performances in South Africa were excellent, the next IBD Games in New Zealand in 2015 were even better. Liz Mendl was an excellent manager complimented by excellent coaches and bowlers. In New Zealand, the surface was cotula weed and produces the fastest conditions in the world. It is a marsh weed, so needs to be watered frequently, but this is not detrimental to the fast playing conditions. Not only did Scotland win more medals than in South Africa, they were also of a better colour.

There were gold medals for Irene Edgar and Maria Spencer in separate singles events and for Harry Harris and Martin Hunter in men’s singles events. Irene and Billy Edgar added a fifth gold medal in the mixed pairs. Equally impressive were the two pairs silver medals. One for Maria Spencer and Harry Harris, and the other for Rosemary Lenton and Michael Simpson, who defied all the odds in winning their medals. Five of the medals went to bowlers with visual impairments and this can be attributed to the evolving skills of the directors/coaches. The next Games were scheduled for 2019, but these did not take place because of the absence of a host country. New Zealand decided to host in November 2020, but this has been postponed until 2021, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The other major Para bowls competition within my coaching career was the Home Commonwealth Games in Glasgow 2014. In the year leading up to Glasgow 2014, there were two competitions - the Four Home Nations and the Eight Nations, the latter of which was by far the more important, because all of the countries for the actual Games were attending. There were particularly good performances from the physically disabled bowlers with Billy Allan, Michael Simpson and Kevin Wallace winning the event and Gary Clelland, Martin Hunter and Garry Brown finishing in third place.

From the two visually impaired teams, Irene Edgar and Robert Conway finished in the bronze medal position. This augured well for the Games themselves, but the competition turned out to be a huge disappointment. This was despite Irene Edgar and Robert Conway winning the silver medal, and so improving on their position in the Test event. The physically disabled bowlers were confidently expecting a medal, but they finished with nothing. They did compete for the bronze medal against England, but they lost that match after an extra end and an extra end defeat is always a cruel way to lose a match.

I decided that I would not go to the Australia Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in 2018, but that event had a familiar ring as Irene Edgar and Robert Barr lost a bronze medal after an extra end defeat against Wales. As at Glasgow 2014, the men’s triple failed to win a medal and did not make the play-offs.

My story as an active head coach came to an end at a Three Nations event at Glasgow Indoor in March 2019. On this occasion, Ron McArthur and I organised and ran the Tournament, which went like clockwork. This offered the coaches of the physically disabled bowlers the opportunity to manage the squad on a session by session basis.

A head coach cannot develop and organise top class bowling without adequate back-up. Throughout the years SDS developed a strong team of coaches and directors, some of whom enjoyed dual roles. Directors are very much part of the teams of visually impaired bowlers and are awarded medals exactly as the bowlers themselves. Although I am not categorising coaches and directors, some of those who have contributed to the successes have been Ron McArthur, Robert Gracie, Sarah Jane Ewing, David Thomas, Chris Morrow, Grace Whitton, Doreen Strachan, Celia Smith, Eric McMillan, Norrie Stenton, Chris McGready, Nigel Walker and Bob Christie. I have enjoyed great support over the years SDS staff and volunteers including Richard Brickley, O.B.E. MBE, Gavin McLeod, CEO, Becky Bisland, Ruaridh Davidson and Gary Fraser

Then it all ended very abruptly when Bowls Scotland took over from SDS immediately after the Glasgow 2019 event. Nineteen years developing Para bowls was never in my mind at the outset, but it certainly was an extremely successful project and I can now look back on the period with a great deal of satisfaction.

I will finish with the player who has most impressed me during my nineteen year’s involvement. There are several overseas bowlers who have impressed, and from a Scottish perspective, I would include David Heddle, Kevin Wallace, Michael Simpson, Robert Conway, Irene Edgar, Maria Spencer and Robert Barr. However, my vote would go to an Englishman, Bob Love, a bowler with no arms, and unique in the sport. To play bowls only with your feet almost seems an insurmountable challenge, but he has perfected his technique to make him my top bowler.

Bob Dick
May 2020
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Disability Sport Fife Annual Awards

One of our most important occasions in the year is the Disability Sport Fife Annual Awards evening.

DSF now presents over 40 awards to individuals and organisations each year. This photo was taken a couple of years ago and each year we add more trophies thanks to the generosity of supporters. Thank you once again to the many people over the years who have supported the Annual Awards by donating trophies or funding the purchase of individual trophies for award winners.

Fife Sports and Leisure Trust is the main supporter of the Annual awards by providing access to facilities at the Michael Woods Sports & Leisure Centre to host the event.

Richard Brickley OBE MBE Chairman DSF (SCIO) Board of Charity Trustees
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