Alex Wins Gold Medal in Fantastic Boccia Comeback
Since the beginning of the year the Boccia circuit has slowly started up again with two friendly competitions, aptly named “Back to Boccia” in Sheffield and in Crawley already completed, with a third competition at the end of April in Hatfield on the horizon. These exhibition matches are a chance for players to get reacquainted with the competitive aspect of Boccia.
Alex Dukes did just that and took the chance to dust off his Boccia equipment and step back on court after a two year hiatus thanks to the pandemic. It was certainly worth the wait as Alex won all of his matches to claim his 2nd individual gold medal of his playing career.
It certainly wasn’t easy however as Alex had to come back from a 3-0 deficit in all of his group games, as well as a deficit in his final group game. Alex conceded four points in the first three ends so the odds certainly wasn’t in his favour. The Jack ball was mostly focused in the middle of the court in the three ends and after pinpointing the weaknesses within his opponent, Alex made a dramatic last-minute tactical switch to shift his Jack ball position as short as possible, risking committing a foul in the process. “The shorter the Jack Ball, the more deft throw required” said Alex. This proved to be the case, as Alex’s opponent couldn’t find the required pace control needed to get close to the Jack and as a result left a large scoring circle for Alex to score the maximum six points, thus winning the match 6-4.
Speaking on his performance in the group matches, Alex said …
I’m very happy to have won all group games. I’d ideally would have wanted them to be a little bit more comfortable than they were. However, I’m pleased with how I stayed in the matches and managed to secure the victory. Now I have a small break to rest, recuperate and focus on the semi final. Hopefully I get off to a better start.
Alex did indeed get off to a better start – in fact he did not drop a single point in the semi-final, winning the match 7-0. As the score reflected, he was much more composed, relaxed and accurate in his throwing, and as the match wore on, gained confidence to take on more difficult shots to comfortably win the match. Alex was guaranteed a silver medal, a great achievement, but could he go all the way and clinch the gold medal?
The answer was a resounding yes! Alex saved his best performance for the final – which he needed to because he was up against a very tough player in former England International, Andrew Morgan. It was a great match, both players going back and forth, every end hotly contested. However, Alex ended up winning three of the four ends, saving his best shot for the final end, throwing his ball far up the court, with a curling short that managed to evade Andrew’s blocking ball by a whisker and get onto the Jack Ball. It was a crucial shot, at that stage Alex only had a two point lead from the first three ends so it was all still to play for. With that amazing shot, Alex won the final end and the final 4-1.
After the medal ceremony, Alex said…
I’m really pleased with winning the gold medal. I really didn’t have any expectations going into this competition as it’s been quite a long time. I think early on I was a little nervous, my release wasn’t where I wanted it to be. But this is what this friendly competition is all about – dust of the cobwebs and get back into the competitive mind-set and I think I achieved that. As the day went on I felt I played better which I’m happy about. There are many things to work on in training, but again, I’m very pleased to come away with the gold medal. I’m looking forward to the rest of the year and I’m glad to be back.
A massive congratulations to Alex for the gold medal win once again. If you are inspired by Alex’s victory – and why wouldn’t you be – then there is still to sign up to the last of the “Back to Boccia” competition scheduled to take place in Hatfield on the weekend of the April, 30th.