David Smith led Great Britain's BC1/BC2 team to success at the 2015 Boccia European Team and Pairs Championships ©GB Boccia

Great Britain beat Slovakia to successfully defend their BC1/BC2 team title at the 2015 Boccia European Team and Pairs Championships in Guildford, England, and secure qualification for next year's Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. 

Having booked their place in the final with a 11-4 victory against Portugal at Surrey Sports Park, the trio of David Smith, Nigel Murray and Joshua Rowe went on to record a 5-4 win against the Slovakians, who beat Spain 8-2 in the semi-finals.

The two teams were level at 1-1 going into the third end, but a Slovakian violation helped Britain to a 5-2 lead heading into the final end, which they played defensively to see out the match.

"We've been building up to this all year; our main goal was to win and take the qualification spot," said captain Smith.

"Now we've got that our focus will shift to working towards winning gold in Rio.

"There's a great camaraderie in the team, we're all working towards the same goal of being the best in the world and creating a legacy for GB Boccia."

Portugal bounced back from their semi-final defeat to register a convincing 10-3 victory against Spain in the bronze medal match.

Nigel Murray played his part in Great Britain's BC1/BC2 team success
Nigel Murray played his part in Great Britain's BC1/BC2 team success ©Getty Images

Roles were reversed in the BC4 pairs final as Slovakia defeated Britain 4-3 with the decisive shot coming from world number two Samuel Andrecijk in the final end.

Britain’s Evie Edwards and Stephen McGuire had earlier cruised to a 10-0 semi-final win against Russia and appeared to be favourites to beat Slovakia, 5-3 winners against Hungary in the last four, having got the better of them in the pool stage.

Despite losing out in the final, GB Boccia estimates that the BC4 pairs team has enough ranking points to qualify for Rio 2016, according to performance director Matt Hammond.

Hungary held their nerve in a tiebreaker to win the bronze medal match at the expense of Russia.

Meanwhile in the BC3 pairs, Spain took on Belgium in the final after closely contested semi-final matches against France and Greece respectively.

Belgium were the commanding force, becoming European champions with a 7-1 victory, while in the bronze medal match, Greece narrowly triumphed over the surprise package of the competition France 4-2.

"The Championships has been an enormous success, running without a hitch and receiving positive feedback from the visiting European teams," said John Dowson, chair of GB Boccia.

"We've also seen a bigger media impact than previous competitions with live streaming and ongoing social media activity widening our reach.

"It's been a real team effort between UK Sport, GB Boccia, Boccia England and the University of Surrey to run the event and it has really showcased the UK and GB Boccia as hosts."

Related stories
July 2015: Great Britain well-placed to retain titles at 2015 Boccia European Team and Pairs Championships
July 2015: Competition schedule revealed for 2015 Boccia European Team and Pairs Championships
June 2015: Portugal dominate 2015 Boccia World Open in Poznan
April 2015: Great Britain rise above opposition at Boccia European Continental Cup
March 2015: UK prepares to host first ever Boccia European Team and Pairs Championships