Perfect pitching and precision placement were the aims of the game as a Boccia tournament came to its conclusion in the first Spar Lancashire School Games final of 2022.
Held at Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School in Blackburn, almost 70 children with special educational needs from 13 primary schools and secondary specialist schools across Lancashire gathered to compete to become 2022 champions.
It was an all-Blackburn final, as a talented team from St Thomas’ CE Primary School edged out a skilful squad from Lower Darwen Primary School in a tense math-up. St Thomas’ CE Primary School will now progress to the regional Boccia final taking place in Liverpool where they will compete against schools from Merseyside, Greater Manchester and Cumbria.
The third and fourth place play-off went the way of Moor Hey School, Lostock Hall, after they put in a polished performance to overcome St James’ Lower Darwen CE Primary School.
Boccia, a Paralympic sport, is like bowls, and athletes throw, kick or use a ramp to propel a ball onto the court with the aim of getting closest to a ‘jack’ ball. The game is designed specifically for athletes with a disability affecting locomotor function, and it is played indoors on a court similar in size to a badminton court.
Abdurrehman Saffi, 11, was part of the winning team from St Thomas’ CE Primary School. He said: “Boccia is a great game because it is about accuracy. You don’t run around, it’s a game you play with your brain.
“I feel very proud to have won. We had ups and downs in the tournament, but teamwork and perseverance helped us to win it. Bring on Liverpool and the regional final!”
Leyton Wright, 8, was a runner up from Lower Darwen CE Primary School. He said: “I love Boccia because it is a fun game to play. It was our first time in the final and it was a great experience.
“We were very good as a team, and I think we communicated well and listened to each other.”
The Boccia tournament was organised and hosted by Sporting NRG on behalf of the Lancashire School Games Organiser Network and Active Lancashire.
Spar, through James Hall & Co. Ltd, its primary wholesaler and distributor for the North of England, are sponsoring the Lancashire School Games for a 15th consecutive year.
Gareth Davies, Company Director of Sporting NRG, said: “It was brilliant to be able to hold our Boccia final for the first time in two years, and we saw some exciting games played throughout the competition.
“The standard of this year’s tournament was the highest yet, and all games have been played in a wonderful spirit. Congratulations to St Thomas’ who I’m sure will fly the Lancashire flag with distinction in the regional final in Liverpool.”
Tom Murphy, Marketing Manager at James Hall & Co. Ltd, said: “What a thrilling way to begin the calendar year of Lancashire School Games events, and good luck to St Thomas’ going forward.
“The Boccia tournament encapsulates perfectly why we have put Spar’s name to the Games for 15 years as it delivers positive impact on the lives of thousands of children. We’re eagerly looking ahead to the activities to come in the weeks and months ahead.”
The Lancashire School Games 2022 provides children and young people with the opportunities to have fun, develop skills, and achieve personal bests through games, activities and competitions in a calendar of events across the academic year.
The aim of the 2022 Games is to help young people recover from the effects of pandemic, and support those who may have been impacted the most. It will culminate in a celebration event in Blackpool’s Stanley Park on Tuesday 5th July 2022.