HONG KONG—Local bowlers registered their biggest ever success at the Hong Kong International Bowls Classic after young girls Vivian Yip and Amy Choi kept the women’s pairs title in town for the first time on Sunday, November 15. In the earlier part of the tournament, Hong Kong representative Dorothy Yu and Craigengower Cricket Club bowler Jordi Lo swept the singles titles for both genders.
The local girls, representing Hong Kong Youth Team, won nine of the 11 games in the round robin and finished top of the table. They then beat the Malaysian team of former World number one Siti Zalina and Commonwealth Games silver medalist Azlina Arshad in the semi-finals.
In the final they faced a strong Australian team which comprised the reigning World singles champion Karen Murphy and World junior girls singles champion Kristina Krstic, who defeated the Scotland team to progress to the final.
The final started under a sky overcast with black clouds but the Hong Kong duo started brightly, opened a lead of 7:0 after just two ends. Australia then won the next five ends to lead by 7:8 however, they conceded six shots in the last two ends to lose the first set.
In the second set, the weather quickly turned adverse and there was a heavy downpour midway through, when Australian was leading 4:8. As the Kowloon Bowling Green Club was flooded, there was no option for the tournament committee but to decide to move the game to the indoor green at Club de Recreio.
After the resumption of the match, the Aussie team went on to win the remaining ends of the set to force the game to a tie-breaker.
The Australian team took one shot from the first end in the tie-breaker. In the second end, Yip drew a superb shot with her last bowl to level the score.
In the last end, the Aussies were holding two shots when both teams had only their last bowl to play. Yip delivered a firing shot to take the jack into the ditch and holding a shot that was 1metre away. Murphy drew her last bowl and stopped about 1metre in front of the ditch. After calling on the umpires to do the measurement, Yip’s bowl won by two inches and history was made.
A jubilant Yip felt that the results showed that Hong Kong players are closing the gap with international bowlers, “From the results we can see that our level with the top bowlers elsewhere is not that much different. You just need to train more and stay focused.”
She also believed that the regular training with the Hong Kong team, especially on the psychological side, has help her a lot in tough situation like this final. Last week the same comments were also expressed by Hong Kong international Dorothy Yu, who won the first ever Classic singles for Hong Kong last week.
“I have been bowling for eight years and I can’t believe I will win this competition, especially to defeat my idol Karen Murphy in the final. The win will also boost my confidence ahead of the Asia Pacific Championship next week,” said a delighted Yip, who will depart to Christchurch, New Zealand with Choi and other Hong Kong team members for the tournament later this week.
In the men’s competition, Australian Nathan Pedersen and Corey Wedlock had no problem adapting to the indoor green at Club de Recreio to beat Marc Wyatt and Robert Weale from Wales 13:1, 9:4 in straight sets.
This is the second time in Classic history that a final needed to move indoors due to poor weather conditions. The 2000 final was moved from KBGC to the indoor greens at Hong Kong Football Club and Irishman Jonathan Ross and Noel Graham benefited from the move and struck gold.
Claudius Lam is an officer of the Hong Kong Lawn Bowls Association.