Auxiliary police officer Helen Cheung continued her splendid form to round out the year with her first major Singles title at a marathon Ladies National Knock-out Singles held last Sunday Dec 16.
This represents a magnificent year for Cheung’s bowling career, who just made her Hong Kong team debut at the International Bowls Classic back in November. Partnering with last year’s knock-out Singles champion, Irene Chow, the duo progressed through the Classic’s round-robin stage in the pairs competition and lost marginally at the playoff.
A delighted Cheung admitted that she just had an average performance in a tightly contested Knock-out Singles Final against rookie Dorothy Yu from the Hong Kong Football Club.
“I have some tougher games in the earlier rounds, but I am just mediocre in the Final,” said Cheung. “Luckily a shift of tactic won me the trophy.”
Yu, who is still fighting for her first Open title, started the Final game well, leading 5:2 on the fourth end. In the following end, when she was holding three shots on green, Cheung played her last bowl and rested on the winning bowl to win by one shot.
Yu missed this opportunity to extend the lead, but kept performing a high quality of drawing to maintain a lead of 12:9 on the 13th end. However, in a costly error, she delivered a jack which is short of the legal distance of 23M, allowing Cheung to control the length of the head.
“During the game, I notice that Yu is not strong on running shot[s], so I decided to change the tactic to play long head with her,” said Cheung. This proved crucial and she won five shots in the following two ends, surpassing Yu on the scoreboard.
Yu tried making adjustment to adapt to the change, but her effort was not enough to overturn the deficit. She lost 14:17.
Cheung is grateful that her tactics worked.
“It is important to keep observing your opponent during [the] game. When in adverse you need to keep trying and remain positive yourself. A small change will turn the game around completely and this is what happened today.”
This victory is especially sweet as Cheung was very close before.
“I was knocked out at the Semi-final last year so I am happy that I finally made it.”
Despite playing quite well, Yu said that she lost touch right from the beginning.
“I just feel that my delivery form is not right and this happened right from the trial end. Maybe I am thinking too much about my opponent, but this definitely affected my confidence, especially my backhand drawing.”
The National Knock-out Singles has a tradition of playing all games within one day, representing a tough test on physical fitness, mental toughness and stamina of the competitors. This year, 108 ladies players participated in the competition, which was played at eight different venues throughout Hong Kong. This year, it started at 10.00 am and the Final finished at 10.15 pm at Kowloon Cricket Club.
Claudius Lam is an Officer with the Hong Kong Lawn Bowls Association.
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