The latest stage in the development of lawn bowling in China took place in Guangzhou on Aug 2 and 3 with the second national championships. The tournament is now held by the National Sports Bureau Small Balls Sports Management Centre, the Chinese Multi-Bowls Association and Sports Bureau of Guangzhou Provence. Guangzhou Lawn Bowls Association and Guangzhou Tienhe Sports Bureau were appointed to organise this tournament with the assistance of Guangzhou Yuexiu Garden Management.
Under the title of “2014 National Bocce (lawn bowls) Championships”, the tournament was played over 2 days with 7 teams playing in only a mixed fours format. The entries included Guangzhou-A, Guangzhou-B, Hong Kong Lawn Bowls Association, Zhejiang Industry and Trade Vocational College, Zhejiang Juhua Group Corporation, Shenzhen Team, Macau Team and Janada. Unfortunately, Janada withdrew at the last minute.
After the round robin sectional play on the first day, Danny Ho, Team Manager of the Hong Kong Team remarked: “The team had not been playing well and we were lucky to get into the semi-final but, unfortunately, to play against the strongest team, Guangzhou-A.”
After torrential rain and thunderstorms in the evening, which blew the very large fabricated tournament banner into the adjacent valley to become unrecoverable, the semi-finals took place in very hot sunshine.
There were no trial ends on the changed green and Guangzhou-A showed their considerable home advantage to take an early lead against the Hong Kong Team. But the rest of the game was very closely fought with Guangzhou-A taking 2 shots in the final 15th end to win by only 1 shot.
Ms Chen Yan Fen of the Guangzhou-A Team explained: “We were expecting to play Hong Kong in the final, and not this semi-final, as they were last year’s winners of the mixed fours and we greatly respect their international bowling experience. Our home green advantage, our harmonious team play and calmness took us into the final game.”
Everyone agreed the game would have made an exciting “final”.
After taking the usual lunch box in the hot sun, the Hong Kong Team played for the bronze medal against Zhejiang, who they beat in the final last year, but who had to their advantage taken an hour’s sleep in the air-conditioned Club House during the break.
This showed as Hong Kong were 9/0 down after only a few ends. However, Hong Kong’s longer bowling experience was evident as Hong Kong then drew ahead to win the game 19/11 and take the bronze medal.
Mike Worth is an Officer of the Hong Kong Lawn Bowls Association.