Rookie Wong Chun Yat picked the best moment to open his national championship account by winning the National Men’s Knock-out Singles on a chilly evening last Sunday Jan 6.
“I have been waiting for this since I started bowling eight years ago,” a delighted Wong said right after clinching his first title on a national scale.
“With the results tonight I think the waiting is worthwhile.”
Wong, a 30-year-old interior designer who plays for Kowloon Bowling Green Club, was among the 205 participants who got up early on a beautiful Sunday morning in the winter to start the one day tournament. Under the fine weather, albeit a bit cool at 150C, he started the campaign with great confidence.
“I knew I am going to win it right from the beginning. Sometimes you just know that everything is under your control and things will come out OK. This is what I felt after I delivered the first bowl of the day. I had the feel and touch to do whatever I wanted to do.”
Wong defeated four bowlers to progress to the last 16, where he faced the real challengers. First he comes up against Hong Kong International Lee Ka Ho, widely regarded as the best youth player in town, who also skips Wong in the premier league. Wong was able to edge past narrowly 13:11 in a tightly contested game.
In the Quarter Finals Wong met Danny Ho, the most experienced Hong Kong international, who has won the title twice. Wong continued his outstanding form to lead the game throughout and wrap it up 13:10.
The Semi-final was relatively easy when Wong faced Shek Chun Hsien from his old club Shatin Sports Association. Shek, who defeated Hong Kong international Tony Cheung en route to the Semi-finals, did not display the form he had shown in the previous round and lost 17:3 in a one-sided match.
The last hurdle on Wong’s route to glory was club-mate and Hong Kong international Bernard Leung.
Technically, both played at a high level during the match, but Wong was never troubled and led the game from the fourth end. The final score of 17:5 does not truly reflect how tight the match was competed though.
Wong is particularly happy because his first national title was won in his favourite format.
“I prefer singles competitions because I always believe in my ability to handle all situations. Winning or losing is in my own hands and today I maintained a good delivery throughout. So I won.”
Leung, who is 53 years old, believes that the difference in their ages does make a difference.
“In the last game I begin to feel some pain in my knee and once this happens, you lose the feel and cannot concentrate on your bowling. When the opponent is such a good and consistent bowler, it is just impossible to win.”
In what was arguably the most gruelling lawn bowls competition held to date, the 205 entrants started at 10.00 am on Sunday morning at eight different venues, with the games from the last 16 onward played at Craigengower Cricket Club. While some players needed to play up to eight games within a day, they also needed to adapt to the ever-changing weather, from the cool morning to the warm afternoon then the chilly evening. The Final finished at 10.00 pm.
Claudius Lam is an Officer with the Hong Kong Lawn Bowls Association.
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