From double acts to national teams inspiring at major events, Scotland’s team sports have given the nation a lot to celebrate over the past year, with some memorable victories. From a strong list of nominations, three superb finalists have been shortlisted for the title of Team of the Year at the 2019 Team Scotland Scottish Sports Awards on 3 October.
Scotland’s silver medallists from the World Wheelchair Curling Championships line up alongside the history making Scottish Women’s National Football team and Lawn Bowls duo Alex Marshall and Paul Foster as the trio go head to head for the prestigious award sponsored by PSL Team Sports.
Scotland won a brilliant silver medal on home soil as the World Wheelchair Curling Championships came to Stirling in March, causing an upset by defeating defending champions Norway in the semi-final before just missing out to Paralympic Champions China in the final. For Scottish skip Aileen Neilson and her team mates David Melrose, Robert McPherson, Hugh Nibloe and alternate Gary Logan it was an impressive finish after a faltering start to the week which saw them lose their first two matches. However, the Scots regrouped magnificently and victories against Germany, Norway, Korea, USA, Russia, Estonia and Canada led to a third place finish on the table and a play-off place secured. Scotland had lost to Slovakia in the round robin stage but they took their revenge in the play-off with a 7-6 victory after an extra end. A 7-3 semi-final victory over reigning World Champions Norway lined up a place in the final and a magnificent silver medal.
Head Coach Sheila Swan said: “We are delighted to be short-listed for this award in recognition of our achievements at the World Wheelchair Curling Championships in Stirling earlier this year. To receive this acknowledgement among many other worthy nominees championing Scottish sporting success is a huge honour. The best of luck to everyone!”
In the summer of 2019, the Scotland Women’s National Team created history as they competed at their first ever FIFA Women’s World Cup. After defying the odds to qualify, Shelley Kerr’s side created a real buzz prior to the tournament, defeating Iceland, Denmark and Brazil in the build-up. More than 18,000 spectators showed their support for the team for their World Cup send-off game, against Jamaica, at Hampden Park – the first time the team had played at the national stadium since 2012 – and Scotland didn’t disappoint, winning 3-2. Shelley Kerr’s side travelled out to France backed by a large travelling support, with a television audience of 6.1 million watching their opening match against England indicative of the level of support back home.
Despite their exit at the group stages, the Scotland Women’s National Team accomplished their goal of inspiring the next generation of young girls to play the game. Participation rates have risen amongst young female footballers and the exploits of the team in their maiden World Cup adventure captivated a nation.
Team Captain Rachel Corsie said: “To be nominated for the Team of the Year Award is a huge honour and one we’re very excited about. 2019 has been an unforgettable year for Scottish Women’s Football. The experience was incredible and we want to continue to drive the country to more successes.
“We are very grateful for the support, especially by those who travelled to cheer us on in the stands, and also the millions watching back home and we have been humbled by the recognition the team has collectively received. We want this to be part of the catalyst for women’s football in this country and as players we want to continue to make history and set new boundaries at these major tournaments.”
Alex Marshall and Paul Foster won their fourth Men’s Pairs gold together in dramatic fashion at the 2019 World Indoor Championships. The pair started well and were soon in command, winning the opening set 8-6. The second set started with some high scores, sitting at 8-3 to the Scots after three ends. However, from this point the English pairing hit top form to open up a 13-8 lead with only two ends remaining. A spirited comeback saw the Scots go into their final bowl one shot down. Alex, as he has done under pressure at the highest level on numerous occasions now, played a perfectly weighted world-class shot to put the pair in a match winning position. When Brett missed with his strike, the title was theirs for a fourth time, following their wins in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
Alex and Paul had another stand out international performance at the 2019 Atlantic Rim Championships in Wales where they took silver in the Men’s Pairs, teamed up with Ronnie Duncan and Derek Oliver to win Fours gold and helped Scotland to the overall team title.
Paul Bush, Chairman, Commonwealth Games Scotland said: “The finalists in this category represent the best of team working and their outstanding achievements are testament to this. I congratulate them all on their success and look forward to celebrating with them on what will be a memorable and inspirational night.”
PSL Team Sports, the leading supplier of sportswear to schools, universities and clubs in Scotland, sponsor the Team of the Year Award for a fourth consecutive year. Their professional design team, experience in fabrics, products and logistics and their state of the art printing and embroidery facilities offer an exceptional service to over 200 organisations across the UK.
Recently acquired by leading independent school uniform and sportswear provider Stevensons, the partnership are using their collective wealth of knowledge and contacts, unrivalled within the industry, to continue to provide value, service and product development. With the backing of Stevensons, PSL plan to become the largest supplier of multisport Teamwear throughout the UK.
Winners across all award categories will be crowned at the Team Scotland Scottish Sports Awards in a star-studded celebration of Scottish sport on 3 October at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.