A new look Hong Kong team will challenge for honour at the 3rd Chinese National Lawn Bowls Championship in Guangzhou this week, hoping to better the results of second runners-up last year.
Held in the Yue Xiu Park, Guangzhou City, China, from March 26 to 28, the event is open to China’s municipalities, provinces, special administrative regions, special economic zones and state-owned enterprises. As the organising committee has imposed strict control on the eligibility of the players to ensure that only bona fide bowlers will participate, it is anticipated that only eight teams will participate this year.
This year the organising committee adopted a new playing format, changed from the previous Mixed Fours competition to men and women’s Singles and Pairs.
In the inaugural tournament back in 2013 when 15 teams participated, Hong Kong only finished third runners-up on the overall standings. Last year they met six other teams and returned with a bronze.
Hong Kong will send a relatively inexperienced men’s squad for the tournament, including the reigning National Triples champion Timmy Kwong and 20 years old Ken KK Chan, who will make his debut for Hong Kong. For the ladies it is a more experienced side that consisted of two Asian Championship gold medallists, Helen Cheung and Vivian Yip.
Of the four members, Helen Cheung is the only player who has participated in the tournament before, being a member of the Mixed Fours in 2013, “We anticipated that the biggest challenges will be from Guangzhou again as they are very familiar with our playing style, and they also have the home green advantage.”
Heron Lau, the vice president in charge of International affair, believed that the competition is a good chance for new Hong Kong squad bowlers to gain experience, “This may not be the highest standard of competition but is definitely a good opportunity for us to see what the difference between us and our mainland counterparts are.
“In a few years time China will become one of our main competitors in the region and I would like to let our bowlers to experience in person how we can stay ahead of the challenges. So our focus on this competition is the learning, rather than the results,” said Lau.
Claudius Lam is an Officer of the Hong Kong Lawn Bowls Association.