Scotland returned from Ireland with four world championship titles after a hugely successful World Indoor Tug of War Championships.
The team included three pullers from the North-east - Bill Meston from Stonehaven, Rhys Anderson from Laurencekirk and Martin Findley from Forfar.
Months of training culminated in the Scotland Indoor Tug of War Squad travelling to Ireland for the weigh-in on February 19. With the teams selected for each weight category, the pullers enjoyed the last chance to relax before the pulling began.
The first of Scotland’s weights was the Mens open 560kg where Bill Meston and Martin Findley competed with Ayrshire Tug of War Club. Although the team dominated their pulls against the likes of Rockies and An Steel, it wasn’t enough to progress to the next stage and so their involvement was cut short. The weight was eventually won by Country Club of Northern Ireland, with Abadino of the Basque winning silver and Cockhill finishing with Bronze.
Next up was the Men’s open 640kg, again where Rhys Anderson anchored for Ayrshire. The teams were split into two leagues, Ayrshire being in Group 2. This meant that they avoided Clonmany B of Ireland but had to contend with the likes of Mountain View (Ieland), Monnickendam (Holland) and Cobra (Italy).
This proved not to be a problem as the club dismissed the challenges of the other teams and rarely went beyond the one minute and 30 seconds mark to win the end. This set up a semi-final with Lubrensis of Italy but again there was no match as Ayrshire won in 21 seconds and 22 seconds for the two ends.
After breezing into the final, it was against Clonmany B, the local side, that Ayrshire were to be tested against. However, they hadn’t read the script and beat Clonmany B in two ends straight to win the gold for the Men’s open 640kg weight category – without dropping an end.
With the open club tournament now finished, the main tournament was got under way. The first weight of the internationals was the Men’s Closed 560kg. There was a change in the Scottish line up but Bill Meston and Martin Findley held onto their positions.
Again things still didn’t go Scotland’s way. Despite a draw with the Spanish and a win over China, the 560kg team ended in sixth position and out of the tournament. Chinese Taipei were the eventual winners, beating England into second place, and Ireland finishing in third position for Bronze.
The second weight on Saturday for Scotland was the Mens closed 640kg. With one change from the club line up, the team were looking to emulate the same success as two days previously.
Again showing dominant form, Scotland beat every team in front of them – though some of the ends did last a while longer than Thursday’s ends.
In no time, the Scots were through the semi-finals where they beat Spain to set up the final with Ireland. This tie was closer between the teams but the Scots came out on top with two straight ends for the victory with the help of Rhys Anderson in anchor position.
Scotland again did not drop any ends during this weight category, adding to the excitement of the win. Spain beat the Netherlands for the Bronze.
On the last day of pulling, Scotland had the Men’s closed 600kg crown to defend. The Scots have won this weight for the last four World Championships and were looking to extend this further still. Neither Bill, Martin nor Rhys were part of the 600kg line up, but they helped cheer the team on.
Scotland secured themselves second place in the group stage and a pass through to the semi-finals where they faced the home team, Ireland.
Scotland soon took the initiative in both ends to dash the hopes of the crowd for a home win.
Scotland were through to the final against Taipei who had come out on top in their group encounter.
The Scots were undeterred. The first end was close and had to be re-centred for Taipei to win the first advantage with the winning time of five minutes and nine seconds – the longest end of the tournament so far.
The second end followed suit – again being re-centred but this time, Scotland finished the winners with the second longest end of four minutes and eight seconds. This set up a decisive third end. Both teams were exhausted but neither wanted to lose after giving it their all in the preceding ends. Scotland drew on their experience from the previous four world championships and were able to finally break Taipei and take the crown of the Men’s closed 600kg World Champions for the fifth time in succession.
After the success of the 600kg weight, Scotland were to try and re-gain the 680kg title which they had lost at the 2012 world championships in Perth. With Rhys Anderson again in the anchor position, Scotland re-grouped after another shaky start and managed to go on to win the rest of their tiesto finish in second position within the group.
The semi final encounter with England almost finished the hopes of another gold if it weren’t for the determination and strength of the Scotland team. They beat the English 2-1 to pull off against Ireland in the final. It was another exciting final that went down to the wire with a deciding third end.
Scotland managed to overcome the host nation and re-gained the 680kg World Championship crown. In the bronze medal pull off, England beat the defending champions, the Netherlands, to finish in third place.
With four World Championship titles for the squad, it has certainly put the Scots back on top of Indoor Tug of War.