Cecilia Kwok won her first Champion of Champions title at her fifth appearance in a roller-coaster Final last Sunday March 10.
Kwok, representing Greende Lawn Bowls Club, beat Daisy Lo from Indian Recreation Club 21:6 in the Semi-finals to face the newly crowned Novice Singles champion Joanne Leung from Tuen Mun Sports Association in the Final.
Leung had defeated the reigning Knock-out Singles champion, Helen Cheung, en route to the Final.
Kwok admitted that she was very nervous after seeing Leung despatch Cheung convincingly in the Semi-finals.
“Cheung is a very good player and she just fell apart under the challenge from Leung,” said Kwok. “This worried me at the beginning of the Final.”
Anxiety appeared to bite into Kwok’s performance and she found herself trailing 8:0 after just four ends.
Then, all of a sudden, Leung lost her touch and surrendered nine shots in the following four ends.
After a few ends where both players won some and lost some, Leung picked up the rhythm again and won four consecutive ends to lead 19:12—needing just two shots to finish the game.
“At that time I almost gave up; but in front of so many supporters, I just didn’t want to finish it with such an awkward scoreline. So I focussed again and aimed at getting a few more shots,” said Kwok.
The change of attitude proved to be the turning point of the game.
In the following end, Kwok trailed the jack to the ditch for one shot. Her opponent then drew a bowl just 30 cm from the jack, but Kwok replied with another draw that was only 15 cm from the jack and claimed two shots in this end.
The demoralised Leung did not recover from then on.
This can best be illustrated by what happened on the 23rd end: Leung was still winning the match at 19:18, but with Kwok holding two shots in the head. Then, Leung’s last bowl pushed one of Kwok’s bowls closer to the jack, gifting her three shots and the game.
Kwok was obviously delighted at her own achievement.
“This is my fifth Champion of Champions competition and I am very happy that finally won one.
“I am lucky because Leung is a very good player, but maybe she spent too much energy in the morning game against Helen Cheung and she lost her concentration at the last few ends, and gave me the chance.”
Participation to the CoC is restricted to the current holders of the singles champions of the Hong Kong Lawn Bowls Association (National Singles, Knockout Singles, Under 25 Singles, Champion of Champions singles) as well as the singles champions of all member clubs under the Hong Kong Lawn Bowls Association. The format of the competition is a double round-robin, followed by the knock-out stage from Semi-finals onward.
Claudius Lam is an Officer with the Hong Kong Lawn Bowls Association.
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