Seabird Sports Club from Hong Kong won the title of the first ever lawn bowls tournament held on an artificial green in mainland China.
Entitled “Henan Janda Lawn Bowls International Invitation Tournament”, the event was held in the Fengqiu Industry Zone, Xinxiang, Henan, last Thursday to Saturday (June 20-22).
The artificial green, which is the first and only one in China, is also the first green outside of Guangdong Province. It was built earlier this year by the Xinxiang Jinda Chemical Fibre Factory, a privately owned green carpet manufacturer, within its factory premises. This is the third green in China, with the other two in Guangzhou and Shenzhen.
While the majority of the 21 teams were from China, teams from lawn bowls associations from Hong Kong, Macau and Singapore, as well as a number of clubs from Hong Kong, added some international flavour to the tournament.
The competition, which was in a mixed fours format, divided the teams into two groups to play out a roundrobin. The top two teams of each group qualified to the Semi-finals. Seabird Sports Club, which was skipped by Hong Kong international Li Ming Sum, won seven of the nine games played and emerged as the leader in Group B. They defeated Singapore 19:0 in a one-sided Semi-final to enter the Final.
At the other end, Macao defeated United Services Recreation Club 12:8 to take up another Final spot.
In a tightly competed Final, SBSA earned a hard fought victory after the last end, beating Macao 7:5 to lift the trophy.
Tian Jinli, chairman of Xinxiang Jinda Chemical Fibre Factory, the main sponsor of the event, said that the tournament has opened a new page in lawn bowls history in China.
“The competition marks the opening of the first green in the northern part of China. We expect more and more provinces will build more greens to allow more people to take up the sport in the country,” said Tian.
Vincent Cheung, president of the Hong Kong Lawn Bowls Association, also echoed Mr Tian’s comment.
“Over the years, lawn bowls has only success to penetrate into Guangdong Province. The new green serve as a good demonstration of how it should be done and hopefully more provinces will follow suit,” said Cheung.
Claudius Lam is an Officer with the Hong Kong Lawn Bowls Association.