HONG Kong—Australian boys Nathan Pedersen and Corey Wedlock became the fifth team in the 30 years history of the Hong Kong International Bowls Classic to successfully defend their men’s pairs title.
In the youngest ever men’s pairs final at the Classic, when all four bowlers were under the age of 25, the Aussies overcame Ryan Burnett and Kevin Anderson from Scotland to keep the trophy they won last year.
During the roundrobin stage both Australia and Scotland were in the same group and both teams won 9 of the 11 games. Scotland only lost once in the hand of Australia at that stage and they defeated local club Craigengower Cricket Club in the semi-final to enter the final. Australia beat group B leader Wales in the semi-final.
In the final the Aussies were always on the upper hand. In the first set they lead throughout and finished it 8:7.
In the second set the Australians continued their domination and were leading the game 7:1 after 5 ends. In the sixth end when Pedersen trailed the jack and held a shot, Andersen tried to drive but took out his 2nd and 3rd bowls. The Scottish lost five shots in this end and handed the match to their opponents.
Pedersen and Wedlock were very happy to repeat the feat last year. Wedlock felt that the roundrobin stage was easier than last year as some of the stronger players were not in Hong Kong due to their World Championship commitment but the final was a completely different story, “The greens were tricky and both of us were struggling at some point. We won because we are more consistent but the score didn’t really reflect how tough the final was.
“Right from the start we were having the upperhand so they have to chase us for most part of the game. In some situations they needed to play some big shots but it did not always work.
“We are happy to do it again and hopefully we can come back next year to do it three time in a row,” said Wedlock.
Pedersen, who is only 22, was happy about winning the title again, “I love the city and the tournament very much and to win it again was especially amazing. Now I am looking forward to the challenge next year.”
In the women’s pairs, 2014 champion Sonia Bruce from Philippines partnered with Rosita Bradborn to win her second title in three years.
They beat the young Malaysia team of Noorazlinda Zakaria and Zuraini Khalid in straight sets 11-2, 7-7 in the final. Khalid won the women’s singles a week ago.
Bruce, who partnered Ainie Knight to lift the title two years ago, was delighted to do it again this year, “The Malaysian team was very strong but we know we can beat them if we play with our usual standard. I played very well in the final and sometimes it was difficult for them to turn the head. We kept our composure throughout and luckily we were over the finish line before they can catch us.”
The defending champion from Hong Kong Youth Team, Amy Choi and Vivian Yip, narrowly missed qualifying for the knockout stage. They won five of the 11 games and were two points short of qualifying.
All finals are now available on YouTube. Bowlers around the world may visit http://www.hklba.org/live to view them.
This week in lawn bowls
Sunday Nov 20 is finals day for National Singles, Novice Pairs, 2-4-2 Pairs and Mixed Triples. They will be held at Club de Recreio starting at 10am and 1:30pm.
Claudius Lam is an officer of the Hong Kong Lawn Bowls Association.