The inaugural Goalball UK ‘Home Nations’ tournament at York St John University was a great success with the 4 teams battling it out in a fiercely competitive but friendly atmosphere.
The opening game on Saturday afternoon, between England and Wales, was end to end action and set the tone for all the games to follow. David Lloyd had the accolade of scoring the 1st goal of the tournament (for Wales) but England were the eventual winners.
Next up, Northern Ireland made their competitive debut against Scotland. Anyone watching wouldn’t have known though as they played exceptionally well, only narrowly losing by 1 goal.
Scotland were then immediately back on court to face their ‘Auld Enemy’ – England. It was yet another great game with England triumphing.
The remaining games of the day resulted in both Northern Ireland and Scotland winning against Wales, whilst England beat Northern Ireland to maintain their 100% record.
Play resumed on Sunday morning after a Saturday night social when ‘Alternative Awards’ were presented – the categories included ‘Considering I’m sighted I’m not bad at this crazy VI sport’; ‘I got out of bed the earliest this morning’; and ‘Don’t tell anyone but really I’m English’!
Northern Ireland continued to play fantastically and, although they were unable to record a win, Wales were by no means outplayed in any of their games. Scotland, rather than tiring, got stronger as the tournament progressed, winning all 3 of their games and putting the pressure on England. In the final game, they cheered on their ‘Celtic cousins’ knowing that a win or draw for Northern Ireland against England would result in them being crowned Home Nations champions – but despite taking an early lead, it wasn’t to be, and England won.
The final table therefore had England and Scotland tied on 15 points but 1st place went to England because of their superior goal difference. So Scotland were 2nd whilst Northern Ireland finished 3rd and Wales 4th.
A massive thank you to everyone who was involved – players, coaches, officials, volunteers and Goalball UK staff – and to York St John University for hosting the tournament. We’re already starting to make plans for 2019!
Results – Saturday 8th September:
England 7 – 4 Wales
Scotland 11 – 10 Northern Ireland
England 10 – 6 Scotland
Northern Ireland 7- 4 Wales
Scotland 10 – 9 Wales
England 8 – 4 Northern Ireland
Results – Sunday 9th September:
Scotland 7 – 4 Northern Ireland
England 8 – 5 Wales
Scotland 5 – 2 England
Wales 5 – 6 Northern Ireland
Scotland 7 – 3 Wales
England 5 – 3 Northern Ireland