It is too early in the round-robin stages—with six of 11 rounds remaining before Play-offs—to identify any outstanding performances in the Men’s and Women’s Pairs of the Hong Kong International Bowls Classic so far.
The 2012 event sees more than 40 top bowlers from 11 of the world’s strongest bowling nations and elite local Hong Kong players competing the pairs tournament and the singles competition, which was completed on Sunday Nov 4. Countries participating include: Australia, China, England, India, Ireland, Macau, New Zealand, Philippines, Scotland, Singapore and Wales.
The two Singles finalists from Australia, Barrie Lester and Matthew Baus have partnered and are aiming to sweep the double – Singles and Pairs titles. Trying to maintain their good form and build a formidable force, they will be aiming to challenge the monopoly of the double winning record set by the England team on three previous occasions. The last time England did a clean sweep was when this event was held two years ago … and when Robert Newman got his hands on both titles.
For the reigning Pairs champion Newman, who got knocked out in the Singles Quarter Finals, his mission is now clearly pointing at the Pairs. However, he and his new partner Mark Read, will face strong challenges from the 2009 Singles runners-up Hommer Mercado, paired with Christopher Dagpin both from Philippines, and World No. 13 Graham McKee, paired with Mark McPeak from Ireland.
In the Women’s competition, Australian Julie Keegan is aiming to defend her 2010 Pairs title with her new partner Thelma Sanday. Awaiting the defending champion are the Philippines pair of Maila Witheridge and Sonia Bruce, who vowed to take revenue for the loss they suffered in last Final.
Malaysian Nor Hashimah Ismail, who won the last women’s singles, will put all of her focus on the Pairs after getting knocked out of the Singles in Round 2. She is partnering local girl Pinky Chan, who was a Semi-finalist in the Women’s Singles last time.
Rounds 1 through 5 in the Pairs competition were played on Monday and Tuesday, Nov 5 and 6. With Wednesday being a rest day, play will resume today (Thursday Nov with Rounds 6 and 7. The Final for both the Men’s and Women’s Pairs will be played on Sunday Nov 11.
Claudius Lam is an Officer with the Hong Kong Lawn Bowls Association.