It was a bittersweet National Indoor Games for the Yorkshire Region in 2016 as sadness at the team being unable to defend their 2015 title at the Leicester Marriott Hotel on 19 March was tempered by David Howells once again coming home with gold in the darts (standing).
The Yorkshire Region has triumphed at the games organised by The British Polio Fellowship in 2015, 2014 and came third in 2013. Slipping out of the top rankings for the first time was the shock of the tournament, with Bradford’s David Howells making it four golds in the last four years not enough to keep the tykes on top.
“David is something of a phenomenon at the games, as he just keeps on winning every year,” said Ted Hill MBE. “It’s amazing to watch and the level of consistency is unbelievable. The games are always competitive and a number of regions have upped their game so it will be interesting to see how the Yorkshire region will respond in 2017.”
The games began on Saturday and saw those living with Polio and Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) competing against each other in nine disciplines adapted to allow wheelchair users and people with other mobility issues to participate. Victory this year went to the North West Region, with the East Midlands and Scotland coming in second and third respectively.
A record 229 attendees and 132 competitors arrived at the Leicester Marriott Hotel for the Indoor Games having qualified from ten regional heats to compete across nine games: Kurling; Bowls; Darts; Boccia; Draughts; Cribbage; Dominoes; 5s and 3s; and Scrabble. Medals were awarded to the winners of each sport with the Top Trophy renamed in memory of late Games Coordinator Gordon Lumb and presented at the awards dinner Saturday evening by Chair of the Championship Committee, Christine Lumb.
In addition to the serious side of the competition, the games represent the one opportunity in The British Polio Fellowship’s events calendar when members from across the country get to meet and socialise.
In addition to David’s gold, Christine Lumb came third in Scrabble, Pauline Henfrey came fourth in Cribbageand Ann Bermingham and Pat Smith scooped bronze in the dominoes, with Brenda Stewart securing fourth in the Kurling. It was a hard fought defence of the region’s title, but it was not to be in 2016.
“This year was the most hard fought I have ever seen, so in that light, Yorkshire missing out is easier to understand” added Ted. “The Boccia in particular was so tense you could hear a pin drop with competitors stopping what they were doing to watch. I have no doubt that Yorkshire will see this as the other regions throwing down the gauntlet for next year. It should make the 2017 games one to savour as Yorkshire strive to retake a regional crown they have come to see as their own.