The gulf of difference between the Hong Kong ladies bowlers and their counterparts from New Zealand was fully exposed in the triples play-off at the 2012 Men’s and Women’s World Championships in Adelaide, Australia.
In the game played last Thursday (Dec 6), the Kiwis prevailed with an easy 19:6 win, leaving Hong Kong empty-handed at the tournament and extending the trophy-drought to 24 years. Last time the territory won a trophy at this competition was in 1988 when Sandi Zakoske, Rae O’Donnell and Naty Rozario won bronze at the Women’s Triples.
The score-line in last Thursday’s match reflects the performance between the two teams on the day, but not necessary the real standard of the bowlers, according to team manager Sanie Ng.
“When you get to the play-off stage it just gets you all nerves. Maybe it is experience that made the difference between the two teams.”
The Hong Kong trio of Tammy Tham, Jessie So and Alice Lee lead the game in just one end – the first end when they held a single shot. From the second end onward the Kiwi team of Lisa White, Jan Khan and Mandy Boyd were always on top.
With the teams level at 3:3 on the third end, NZ gradually opened up the lead to 9:4 on the eighth end.
The poor form of the Hong Kong team was best illustrated in the ninth end, said Ng.
“Tham held at least two shots after her term, with one of the bowls protecting the jack. So [the next bowler] was instructed to draw a back bowl, but all three deliveries were not successful.
“When the Kiwis kept missing the running shots, Lee’s first bowl mistakenly hit Tham’s protecting bowl and opened up the head. Boyd took this opportunity to trail the jack to the ditch. Lee drew a second shot, but was taken out by the NZ skipper’s last bowl.
“We lost five shots and this had a massive effect on us. That left us trailing 10 shots in the remaining six ends. Obviously this was a very difficult mission, especially when the opponents were playing so well. We never really recovered and lost the game,” Ng said.
Despite losing the play-off, Ng is still happy about the team’s performance.
“We deserved to lose in the play-off because our opponents are very stable and consistent. The team did not say much after the defeat and I can understand their disappointment. They had been performing really well during the past week, but lost it at the most critical moment.
“I will say, I felt more than satisfactory on how the girls performed. The most important thing is that they should learn from such experience and further improve themselves,” concluded Ng.
The New Zealand team went on to defeat England to enter the Final, which they lost to the ultimate champion Australia.
Heron Lau, Vice President-International at the Hong Kong Lawn Bowls Association, is also pleased with the performance of the Women’s team, but admits that more onsite support may be required if Hong Kong wants to achieve better results in the future.
“Over the years there are many occasions that we are so close to getting a [podium] result, but in most of the cases, fell at the last hurdle. I believe we need to offer better support at the games for our players. I think providing psychological backup or coaching assistance will be helpful. This will be discussed and hopefully implemented before our next international competition,” said Lau.
The next major international tournament for the Hong Kong team will be the Asian Lawn Bowls Championship, where they will defend the Women’s Fours title. The date and venue of the tournament is yet to be finalised.
Claudius Lam is an Officer with the Hong Kong Lawn Bowls Association.
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