Defending champions Hong Kong returned third runners-up at the 5th Japan International Open on Monday, Oct 16.
The bi-annual tournament was held from last weekend to Monday at the Yokohama Country & Athletic Club (YCAC). Teams from Australia, Hong Kong, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, United Arab Emirates and Zhuhai joined seven local teams to play for the title. They were divided into two group and the top two progressed to the semi-finals.
In the mixed fours competition Hong Kong was represented by Kenny Tam, Candy Ng, Shirley Ma and debutante Shadow Law.
Despite the almost continual rain throughout the competition, Hong Kong was not so much affected in the first two days and managed to finish top of their group, only losing two games during these matches.
In the semi-finals, they faced a team from the host club YCAC.
The game was played under rain and the temperature dropped to 14 degree, which affected the performance of the Hong Kong team during a crucial situation.
All was looking rosy in the last end, when Hong Kong was leading by four shots on the board and lying two shots on the green. Then the YCAC skipper Marcel Niederhauser played his last bowl with power, wicked one of the bowls in front, trailed the jack to his team’s bowls, and won four shots to force the game into a tiebreak.
In the extra end, Hong Kong again were holding one shot but Niederhauser did his magic again. His last bowl was narrow but wicked another bowl in front and finished as the shot bowl. Hong Kong skipper Kenny Tam tried to draw but it was a bit short and they had to settle for the third place play-off.
In the play-off against United Arab Emirates, the Hong Kong team struggled with the wet conditions and lost by a big margin of 11:5.
The title was finally lifted by YCAC, who defeated Singapore 11:3 in the final.
Premier League Update
The men’s Premier League will enter its final week this Saturday, with Craigengower Cricket Club and Hong Kong Football Club both with their eyes on the title.
Currently CCC are leading the table by a point and they will host the youth team at home. Second place HKFC will travel to Kowloon Bowling Green Club to play against a team that is currently in the bottom half of the table with nothing to play for.
It is similarly tense at the bottom with the Police and Club de Recreio fighting for their survival. The two teams are separated by a point, with the Police holding a thin advantage. Both teams will be playing at home, against HKFC-B and Tuen Mun Sports Association respectively.
All games will start simultaneously at 3:00 this weekend.
Claudius Lam is an officer of the Hong Kong Lawn Bowls Association.