Do you want to see Hong Kong’s star lawn bowlers against some of the best in the world on local television? This year you can.
For the first time in the history of bowling in Hong Kong, every final match in the annual Hong Kong International Bowls Classic from Nov 3 to 11 will be broadcast live on PayTV channel Now with a Cantonese commentary.
Vincent Cheung, president of the Hong Kong Lawn Bowls Association, announced the broadcast breakthrough at a press conference last week (Oct 4).
“We have made substantial investment in engaging Now TV to take up the broadcast rights,” said Cheung. “The four finals will be broadcast live on its channel and on the internet. This allows more people to watch our matches and definitely help to further promote the sport in the territory.
“In addition to the first TV broadcast, also for the first time, we have secured separate sponsors for the Classic. The Singles event will be sponsored by Concord Industrial & Commercial Development Enterprise Ltd, while the Pairs will continue to be sponsored by the Zhong Gang Multi-Bowls Club. This is in addition to the continual Government funding support from the Leisure and Cultural Services Department.
“We are really grateful to our sponsors and I am sure this will be a splendid event that all bowls will enjoy,” said Cheung.
The 2012 event will see 64 top bowlers from 12 of the world’s strongest bowling nations and elite local Hong Kong players competing in singles and pairs competitions. Countries participating include: Australia, China, England, India, Ireland, Macau, New Zealand, Philippines, Scotland, Singapore and Wales.
The double champions of the Men’s Pairs and Singles title in 2010, Robert Newman from England, is returning with the task of keeping the trophy at home. He will face strong challenges from the 2009 Singles runners-up Hommer Mercado (Philippines) and World No. 13 Graham Mckee from Ireland. He will partner compatriot Mark Read to defend the Pairs trophy.
In the Women’s competition, Australian Julie Keegan will return to defend her 2010 Pairs title, while Malaysian Nor Hashimah Ismail will aim to retain her 2010 Singles title.
The International Bowls Classic was not held in 2011 as the HKLBA celebrated its centennial year with HKLBA Golden Jubilee International Bowls Mixed Pairs Classic.
The Event Format
The Singles is a knockout competition that will be played at the Kowloon Bowling Green Club, Club de Recreio and United Services Recreation Club on Nov 3-4, with the finals being held at the Kowloon Bowling Green Club in the afternoon of Nov 4. The 64 competitors include overseas bowlers and Hong Kong’s top bowlers, comprising winners of national Singles events and qualifiers from local clubs.
The Pairs is a 7-day competition. Twenty-four teams of each gender will be divided into two groups to play out a round robin competition. The top team from each group will enter the Semi-finals directly, while the second and third place will meet in a play-off to fight for places in the Semi-finals. The round robin will be played at Craigengower Cricket Club, Hong Kong Football Club and Indian Recreation Club, while the final will be played at CCC on Nov 11.
Premier League Updates
Kowloon Cricket Club extended their lead to five points after beating Craigengower Cricket Club 7-1 away last weekend, while defending champion Kowloon Bowling Green Club only managed a 6-2 victory at Hong Kong Football Club.
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 won it in 2007. In the Singles, Hong Kong players George Souza Jnr and Noel Kennedy won their titles in 1984 and 1994, respectively.
The two leading clubs will meet this weekend in a game widely considered as a title decider. While holding the home green advantage, KBGC needs to win this game to maintain any chance of winning the championship.
Elsewhere in other divisions, Hong Kong Cricket Club became the first team to become champions this season when they won the Men’s Division 4 title. With only two games to go, the team opened up an untouchable 19-point lead over their closest rival. HKCC once was a Division 1 club, but due to the departure of a number of good players they plunged to Division 4 in the past few years. The divisional win will see HKCC climb into Division 3 next season.
Claudius Lam is an Officer with the Hong Kong Lawn Bowls Association.