The 10th anniversary edition of the competition was held on Friday Jan 13th, drawing a record 26 players and leaving organisers facing a challenge in arranging groupings, pairings and lanes in order to meet competition requirements.
Further complicating matters were a series of late entries and late withdrawals although organisers rallied to establish the two teams, with the competition rules stipulating one point for a win, half point for a draw and no points for a loss.
Despite having won the previous five editions of the competition, the EU team went into the competition as serious underdogs, with the ROW lineup boasting more regular bowlers and former multiple champions from the club’s recent major competitions. However, as has been in the case in previous years, relying on recent form and experience alone counted for very little and it was whoever turned up on the day with their A-game that was likely to triumph.
The ROW knew they needed 12 points from the 23 matches to triumph, while the EU team knew that, as current holders of the cup, even a 11.5-11.5 draw would be enough to retain their title.
In usual fashion, the captains chose their pairings groups and lanes in secret before the action on the green got underway.
The EU team started terribly, only gaining half a point from the first round of triples and fours to trail 0.5 to 3.5. The EU fours team in particular were unable to cope with the vociferous enthusiasm and skill of the all female Thai quartet of Aon, Nid Noi, Wan and Jaoew.
Then, hoping the pairs rounds would help them claw back the deficit, the EU decided to field three strong pairs in the first stage, only for the tactic to backfire dramatically as all three lost to leave the overall score at 0.5 to 6.5.
Better was to come for the EU team in the second stage of the doubles as they managed to reduce the deficit slightly to 2.5 against 7.5. Of note was the fact that both sides picked husband and wife pairs, with EU’s Dean and Kath and ROW’s Sammy and Aon winning their respective contests, proving that marital bliss translates to positive results on the green!
Moving on to the crucial round of 13 singles matches there was still hope that the EU could salvage something overall although it was relatively short-lived the feared strength of the ROW team came to the fore to forge an 11-4 lead after the first five matches. This meant that only one point was required from the remaining eight singles’ encounters to secure the cup.
For the EU it was fair to say that nothing short of a miracle was needed in order to retain the cup and it ultimately proved a bridge too far as the ROW turned the screw in the second round of singles to move into an unassailable 15-5 lead. It resulted in the largest winning margin since the competition’s inception, meaning not only victory but a total annihilation of the despondent EU team, with the celebrations of the ROW lasting long into the night!
Stand out players on the day were, unsurprisingly, all from the ROW team. Wan, Nid Noi and Ray “Rocket” Austin all recorded perfect 3-0 wins, as did veterans George Sasanow and Derek “Dr Rock” Chalmers.
Even though the ROW team were strong favourites they were well marshalled by their captain Ken “Sammy” Sampert whose tactics, groupings and lane selections, which had often been a failing of previous ROW captains, were pivotal to the victory.
The next “major” tournament at Kamala Lawn Bowls Club is the Phuket Open Pairs Championship on Friday (Feb 10).
Kamala Lawn Bowls Club is open six days a week. All equipment is provided and large parties can be gladly catered for. For further information please contact the club on 0948987476 or 0991307255.
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