Facing the strongest ever entry for the British Open, including two teams from the GB Paralympics squad and two from the Russian national squad – one of which is the current world champions, the teams from South Lanarkshire did not have high expectations of success. Against all odds, the team of Paul Webster, Gordon Rainey, John Doyle and Angela Higson with Bill Masterton as skip playing for Paul on one day, ultimately triumphed.
Having finished runner-up in their section, the team faced the prospect of playing GB in the semi final. The GB team featured players who had medalled at World and Paralympics Championships. SLWCC got off to a great start taking the first three ends against the hammer and holding a 4-1 lead at the half way stage. Things got even better when SLWCC took and 4 in the 5th end to effectively seal victory. GB fought back to 8-5 going into the final end but skip Aileen Neilson sportingly shook hands and conceded when it became apparent as the end developed that they could not rescue the match.
The final was, on paper, an even more daunting task. The opponents were the Russian national team and current world champions. The challenge became even harder as Team Webster lost a 3 in the first end. The team kept their nerve and won the next two ends, but sitting 5-2 down after five ends, victory looked to be slipping away. Playing a very steady, calm game and capitalizing in the Russian skip’s reliance on hitting and reluctance to draw, SLWCC won the last three ends to take the title with a final score of 6-5.
Winning the British Open was a huge landmark for South Lanarkshire Wheelchair Curling Club as it was the first win of a national competition with a team made up exclusively of SLWCC players. It was also the first time the competition had been held atHamiltonice rink so it was a real cause for celebration, with a fantastic atmosphere all around the rink.