Team Lanarkshire's golden finish to games
Published: Sunday, 07 August 2011
In the International Children’s Games football event at the Palace Grounds in Hamilton, Team Lanarkshire have just beat Sparta 4-1 in a thrilling football final.
Goals equalled gold for Team Lanarkshire as the boys' team won the football competition on the last day of competitive action at the 2011 International Children's Games.
The boys' beat Sparta of Greece 4-1 in the final with a brace from Daryl Bulloch and strikes from Dominic Thomas and Scott Stevenson completing the victory.
During the six games they played, the team scored an astonishing 69 goals, conceding just two, racking up scorelines of 10-0, 26-0, 5-0, 17-1, 7-0 and 4-1.
Another tremendous day of action was enjoyed by the many spectators at Hamilton Palace Sports Ground, and the atrocious weather didn't dampen the celebrations.
Team Lanarkshire football coach Willie McNab said: "It's a tremendous achievement - the boys deserve everything they got.
"Lots of team bonding has went on to improve us as a unit and I think they have all become really friendly with one another.
"We didn't put a lot of pressure on the boys' and I think in the end their personalities have shone through on the pitch.
"We had a lot of really good performances - a lot of teams were quite defensive against us because they knew of the quality we had going forward.
"That meant the boys' had to be quite patient and bide their time, which they got rewarded for in the end."
Willie also spoke in glowing terms of the Games as a whole.
He said: "The Games have been wonderful, from the opening ceremony to the staff and volunteers, the accommodation, the transportation - everything has been first-class.
"It's also amazing the way the pitches were today - how the groundstaff got them playable was nothing short of a miracle.
"This is my first time being involved with the ICG and it's been superb.
"I really hope they can come back to Lanarkshire soon because as far as I am concerned it's been a great success."
Team Lanarkshire's captain, Dominic Thomas, said: "I am delighted we have won, it's what we set out to do three months ago when the team came together.
"We've achieved our goal so what more could you ask for?
"I scored 14 goals in the tournament and they were all good goals so I'm really happy.
"All the games we have won we have done so by a convincing scoreline so it's been a great team performance.
"Our team spirit is great and has grown during the last three months and we are all the best of pals now.
"The Games have been absolutely brilliant - if I could give anyone advice it would be if you get asked to go to the ICG throw yourself at it - it's been a wonderful experience."
Top goalscorer with 22 goals for Team Lanarkshire was Daryl Bulloch. He said: "I'm so happy we have won the tournament - it's unbelievable.
"I'm very happy to have finished top goalscorer, the standard of teams got better as the tournament went on.
"The Games have been amazing, it's a once in a lifetime chance to take part so you have to grab it with both hands."
Sentilj-Ruse of Slovenia return home with the bronze medal after a tight 2-1 win over Szombathely of Hungary in the third/fourth place play-off.
Meanwhile, the girls' team from Lanarkshire had to settle for silver, losing the final 2-0 to a very well-disciplined and organised team from Seoul, South Korea.
Delighted coach of the Seoul team, Jong Gen Kim, said: "We started playing together as a team three or four years ago, so we are a very organised team and the players know each others game.
"The Lanarkshire team showed some great pieces of skill throughout the tournament but I think we were quicker than them in key areas and in the end I think that's what won it for us."
Third place and the bronze medal in the girls' competition went to Hamilton of Canada, who beat Marion of the USA 1-0 in the third/fourth place play-off.
Team Lanarkshire Boys won a gold medal for the 4x100 metres relay in one of the most dramatic sprint relay finishes seen in recent years
Not only did the team of Andrew Coutts, Darren Daly and twin brothers Kade and Alec Thomas storm through in a time of 46.83 seconds, but their race nearly turned to disaster.
For the final handover the boys had a commanding lead but trouble with third leg-runner Darren Daly's hamstring forced him to slow up as he closed on the box for the final hand-over.
To avoid disqualification Andrew Coutts, who had already started to run, had to stop and then start again while dropping to third place. But he soon made up the lost time with a powerful performance, passing both Reykavik's Gunnar Hardson and Lausanne 's Robin Patriciarca on his way to the finish-line, to secure top spot for Lanarkshire.
Andrew explained: "Darren wasn't up to full speed and he shouted for me to slow down. I was already at the end of the changeover lane, so had to stop, if I hadn't, I'd have been disqualified. The race was amazing, I'm just speechless!"
On the final day of the athletics Edinburgh's Kirsty Mckean leapt to gold in the girls' long jump with a 5.12m victory.
Ausrin Galnaityte from Kaunas took silver with 5.08m narrowly ahead of Lanarkshire's Emma Frame whose 5.07m won her a bronze.
Earlier in the day in the boys' high jump, Danil Lysenko of Russian city Ufa won gold in the boys' high jump, clearing 1.86m. His teammate Nikita Alekseev got silver with 1.81m and Icelander Jon Bjornsson won bronze with 1.75m.
The final medals successes brought to a conclusion a wonderful three days of sport at the John Wright Sports Centre in East Kilbride.
And Emma Frame capped an excellent Team Lanarkshire performance by collecting a bronze medal in the girls' long jump on her home track. The youngster was over the moon with not only her performance, but the whole team's. She said:"I'm very pleased with winning the medal, and I think that we were very unlucky in the girls' relay. The whole team has put in a great performance and all the training that we've put in over the last year has really paid off. I'm delighted that the boys managed to win their relay race, it's an excellent achievement. The whole weekend has been a great experience and we've been getting on well with everyone, especially the Canadians and the Germans are very nice too."
Team Lanarkshire's Track Coach Tony Gilhooly was emphatic at the results the team achieved. He said:
"It's absolutely fantastic. Every one of the kids has done really well, and getting the medals at the end of it all was an excellent bonus. It was really good that Darren's hamstring held out long enough for us to win the gold medal in the relay; we've been nursing it for about a month now and it's a relief that he's helped us win. For me, it has been a great experience as well. I think that in the three years I have been involved it has definitely been the best organised so far, and a lot of the foreign coaches are saying that as well, it's not just me! I was really pleased to have met Tommy Smith as well, that was amazing.
"For the kids, the next stage for them is improving and getting into other international competitions. There are very few athletes at 14 and 15 who have the kind of competitive international experience that our kids have. Roisin Smith is only 13; she has a few years left in the Children's Games, and the times she was running were more like a 15 year old. She is definitely one to watch in the future. Emma Frame as well, she has the potential to be a world-class athlete. We're working on her technique at the moment, and if that improves then she can really start to challenge at the top level in the next few years."
Twins Sophie and Hannah Morrison collected their bronze medals at today's medal ceremony, marking the end of the ICG badminton competition. Sophie also collected a second bronze medal with mixed doubles partner Alex Dunn.
Sophie is pleased with her medals and is keen to continue competing at a high level. She said, "I really enjoyed being part of the International Children's Games, particularly the opening ceremony which was fantastic. I was nervous playing my matches but was really pleased to win my two bronze medals and hope to continue competing in the future."
Alex Dunn is 12 years old and already the proud owner of a bronze medal. Alex added, "I am pleased I've won a bronze medal as I found the competition really tough and hope I'll get to compete in another games in the future.
All the results are uploaded to the website.