The Australian and Irish teams created a game record of 10 burnt ends in a tensely fought Pairs Final at the Hong Kong International Bowls Classic 2012 on Sunday Nov 11. Eventually Australia, who had more success in burning the head, clinched the title.
The Australian duo, Barrie Lester and Matthew Baus, said that they are relieved after taking more than four hours to beat Irishmen Graham McKee and Mark McPeak in the Final.
“We know it will be a tough game for us in the Final because both [McKee and McPeak] are great players. We just kept fighting, killed a few ends and hung on to win,” skipper Lester said.
“This is our first time here, so it is quite amazing that we won the title at our first attempt.”
In a tightly contested Final both teams performed well, but it was the Australians who took the first set 10:5. Both teams killed one end each – by putting the jack, or head, out of bounds – in this set.
In the second set it was an even tighter scenario when the end was killed eight times – particularly so in the second end when the end was burnt four times.
The Irish once opened up a 7:2 lead, but in the sixth end lost five as their skipper, Graham McKee, missed all four driving shots.
From then on it was all downhill for the Irish and they eventually lost 11:10, with the Aussies winning and Lester collecting both of the men’s tournament’s singles and pairs trophies.
Lester thinks that it’s the hunger to perform well for Australia and for their bowling career made them perfect.
“Getting our name on the international stage will help us in selection for future competitions,” said the 30-year-old Community Development Officer with Bowls Australia.
“The next big thing will be the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. And we all want to be considered for it.”
First organised in 1981, the Hong Kong International Bowls Classic is recognised as one of the best outdoor bowls tournaments in the world. Over the years, famous bowlers from all leading bowling countries have participated in the event.
Hong Kong has won the Pairs title on five occasions and the Hong Kong Team last won it in 2007. In the Singles, Hong Kong players George Souza Jnr and Noel Kennedy won their titles in 1984 and 1994, respectively.
Last year the Classic was not held as the Hong Kong Lawn Bowls Association celebrated its 50th year with the HKLBA Golden Jubilee International Bowls Mixed Pairs Classic.
It was a landmark year in 2012, when for the first time in the history of bowling in Hong Kong every final match was televised live on Now TV.
He is particularly impressed with the whole tournament and the atmosphere.
“When hundreds of people are patting you on the back and shaking your hand and congratulating you, it gives you a great feeling and makes it easier in your bowling.”
“Just getting invited here made me smile for days. I came here, performed well, winning is just a bonus. Having my name and Matthew’s name on the trophy alongside great names in the game is a great honour,” said Lester who beat his compatriot, Baus, in the International Classic Men’s Singles Final a week earlier.
In the history of the Classic there had previously been only two teams that had won both the men’s singles and pairs tournaments in the same year. Both were from England in 2004 and 2010.
Claudius Lam is an Officer with the Hong Kong Lawn Bowls Association.
The Epoch Times publishes in 35 countries and in 19 languages. Subscribe to our e-newsletter.