Hong Kong international Camilla Leung may have made history by becoming the first local lady to enter the Final of the tournament; but it was Sandy Hazell who became the first English woman to win the Hong Kong International Bowls Classic Women’s Singles title on Sunday Nov 4.
“Unbelievable” was the reaction from Hazell after she clinched the title. “I have not been actively playing singles for a number of years so it is a surprise for me to win this.
“My game was getting better and better over the course of the tournament, and I think my best performance was at the Semi-finals when I played Sonia [Bruce].
“For the Final, the green was heavier, so both me and Leung needed some time to adapt to it. I am glad that I overcame the difficulties and won it,” said a delighted Hazell.
Hazell knocked out four local lady bowlers before beating Sonia Bruce from the Philippines to enter the Final.
Meanwhile, Leung knocked out the defending champion, Nor Hashimah Ismail from Malaysia, in Round 2. She then played 1996 World Singles champion Sandy Hazell from England in the Final.
In the first set of the Final, Leung was on top until the last end, when she was leading 7:4. Despite drawing a shot close to the jack, her other two shots were disappointingly far from the head. Hazell played an aggressive shot to take out Leung’s closest bowl and held three shots. Leung tried to draw to cut the loss with her last bowl, but it was too wide. Hazell drew the fourth shot and won the set 8:7 in dramatic fashion.
Leung never recovered in the second set, losing 7:0 in the first four ends. She tried to fight back, but it was too late. Hazell took the set 11:5 and won the Final.
A part-time Personal Assistant at the Probation Office in Kent, Hazell’s bowls achievements include the World Indoor Singles Bowls Championship title in 1996 and a bronze medal in the triples at the 2010 Commonwealth Game in Delhi. The English woman can now lay claim to being the first of her nation to win the Women’s Singles title at the Hong Kong International Classic.
In the Men’s Singles Final, Australia’s Barrie Lester defeated his compatriot Matthew Baus.
Claudius Lam is an Officer with the Hong Kong Lawn Bowls Association.