While the majority of Hong Kong bowlers were celebrating the Chinese New Year in a joyful mood during the brief break over the past few days, the bottom two teams in Division 1 of the Hong Kong Lawn Bowls Association men’s Triples League are sharpening their tools for a final showdown this weekend Feb 16.
After the B team of Kowloon Bowling Green Club (KBGC) confirmed their title two weeks ago, the focus has shifted to the relegation dogfight. The three teams who are fighting for the only survival slot are the team A of KBGC, Shatin Sports Association (STSA) and CLP Lawn Bowls Club.
KBGC-A, who have been sitting uncomfortably at the bottom of the table since the first match of the season, only amassed 20-points from eight games (with a shot difference of -63, the best of the three teams). The team just two points ahead of KBGC-A, STSA are on 22-points (-76). Meanwhile, CLP occupies the bottom third position with 27-points (-81, the worst shot difference in the league).
The last game this weekend will see KBGC-A hosting STSA in a vital game which will seal the fate of both teams. The situation is more delicate than usual as CLP, albeit having a five points cushion, has finished all their games for the season already.
STSA just needs the minimum 5-3 win to maintain their voyage at the top flight, but KBGC-A will need to win 7-1 to ensure their survival. Should either of the aforementioned scenarios eventuate, either team would have equal points with and a superior shot difference than CLP, who would then be relegated. Should the match finish with a draw, or if KBGC-A achieves a win with lesser points, CLP will be safe.
Meanwhile, in Division 2, Indian Recreation Club is set to return to the top division, but needs four points from their last game against third-placed City Lawn Bowls Club (CLBC) to ensure the championship. Second-placed Greende Lawn Bowls Club is also a favourite for promotion as they have six more points than CLBC.
The championship race of other men’s divisions is all wide open and anything could happen on the last day of the season.
For KBGC there must be mixed feelings regarding the outcome of the season. Of the seven teams they entered, one was crowned champion, one is in a mediocre position (sixth in Division 7), while all of the rest are still engaged in relegation fights. It will be interesting to see how many of them survive after next week.
There will be no match this weekend for the women as they have a prolonged break to allow all the men’s teams to play their last matches at the same time. Their final match is scheduled for Feb 23 and the focus will be on the Division 1 title fight between leaders Kowloon Cricket Club and Hong Kong Football Club, who are separated by two points only.
Claudius Lam is an Officer with the Hong Kong Lawn Bowls Association.
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