Veteran bowler Timmy Kwong won his first National title after beating former New Zealand national squad member Dave Hanson in the Final of the National Knock-out Singles on Sunday, Jan 5.
Kwong, a 56-year-old semi-retired businessman, who has been playing bowls for 18 years, is delighted after winning the title in his second ever Final of any National competition. His last venture resulted in tears when he lost the National Singles title to top Hong Kong bowler Noel Kennedy in 2007.
He is particularly happy as he won the Knock-out Final after a long day’s work.
“The competition format is very tough for old man like me and I was almost exhausted in the Final,” said Kwong.
“To win a game under such situations makes it unforgettable.”
Kwong commenced his journey at the outdoor green of Club de Recreio when the competition started at 9:00 in the morning. After winning the first three rounds, he went on to defeat last year’s Novice Singles champion Alan Lo from Kowloon Bowling Green Club; ex-Hong Kong International Milo Lai; and China International Terrence Lee to enter the Final.
His opponent in the Final was Dave Hanson, who was in the New Zealand squad six years ago. Hanson, who plays for Police, defeated Hong Kong International Kevin Fung enroute to the Final.
Hanson took the first shot in the first end, but from then on Kwong started dominating play.
“Playing at home definitely helped because the KCC green is a bit tricky to a lot of bowlers. I got a good ball sense today and with my familiarisation with the green, I picked up the green really quickly,” explained Kwong.
Kwong took the next five ends to lead by a big gap of 9:1. Hanson decided to change his tactics and follow the way Kwong bowled and it proved effective instantly. Hanson took the next five ends to tie the game at 9:9.
At this point Kwong resumed his steady performance and outdrew Hanson on the following five ends to finish the game 17:9.
“Towards the end of the Final I felt a bit of cramp in the leg, but fortunately it did not affect my play too much.
“I am really pleased that I still have the touch after so many games in the day and obviously my knowledge of the green did help me a lot,” said Kwong.
Hanson, who also played his first major Final in Hong Kong, was not disappointed and praised Kwong for the good performance.
“I have some short bowls which created problems. When I did get shots he played better so I can’t do anything about it,” said Hanson, who moved to Hong Kong in 2010.
“The game is really tricky and he has local knowledge. I had to follow him after a while and if I did not do that the game would have finished much sooner.
“You win a lot and lose a lot and that’s life,” said Hanson.
In what was arguably the most gruelling lawn bowls competition held to date, the record-breaking 265 entrants started at 9.00am on Sunday morning at eight venues, with the games from the last 16 onward played at Kowloon Cricket Club. While the Final players need to play up to eight games within a day, they also need to adapt to the ever-changing weather, from the cool morning to the warm afternoon then the chilly evening. The Final finished at 10.00pm.
Claudius Lam is an Officer with the Hong Kong Lawn Bowls Association.