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Ron bowls over the competition at the Kamala Lawn Bowls Club Championship

Ron bowls over the competition at the Kamala Lawn Bowls Club Championship

BOWLS: A bumper field of 24 bowlers took part in the Kamala Lawn Bowls Club Championship on Friday (Dec 2), the first “major” tournament of the year.

By Robert Knight

Sunday 4 December 2022, 01:17PM

With high season upon us and COVID restrictions on travel finally lifted, many previously exiled bowlers returned to action at the Kamala Bowls Club, including some previous champions.

With the unseasonal heavy rains having abated, some were hoping for speedier green conditions but those hopes were dashed by heavy overnight rain meaning pretty slow conditions.

With 24 bowlers in the field a first round “scroungers” triples format was necessary in order to reduce the field to 8 quarter-finalists.

For this competition a move was made away from the traditional out-of-the-hat draw and previous winners of competitions were seeded as a trial. The seeds were selected on recent club form and success records in past major championships, a contentious decision that was questioned by some.

Progressing through to the last 8 were 4 of the seeded players: Ron Blackwood, Glenn Collins, Ulf (Ue) Egerstaad and Dean Lambert.

Meanwhile, Ulf "The Detective" Larsson, Carl Mesham, Dot Barker and Aon Sunnee (the current Phuket Open Champion who was surprisingly unseeded) knocked out the other 4 seeded players. This early elimination of 4 of the seeds reflected the strength in depth of the whole field of 24 competitors.

Two of the quarter-finals were one sided affairs, with Ulf “The Detective” dispatching Glenn and Aon comprehensively outplaying Ue.

Tighter affairs occurred in the other two games, with Ron beating Dean 5-2 and Dot sneaking past Carl 7-6 after a sudden death extra end.

This meant the only remaining seed in the semi-finals was two- time defending Club Champion Ron Blackwood who was looking for an unprecedented hat-trick against Ulf “The Detective”.

The other semi-final was an all female affair between Aon and Dot, an impressive feat considering there were only 5 female players from the original total of 24.

Ulf “The Detective” went into his match against Ron short of competitive action and practice having only recently arrived back on the island and it showed as the latter ran out a comfortable winner 11-4 with one end to spare.

In the ladies match it was a tense affair going to the final end before Aon prevailed 7-5. Similar to Ulf “The Detective”, Dot had only recently returned to Phuket and was lacking match practice, while Aon had enjoyed recent match experience, which may have been a contributory factor to the result.

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The final was now set between two reigning champions with perfect conditions as the green had sped up considerably in the heat - the jury was open as to who was favourite to emerge victorious.

Aon surged into an early 4-0 lead and it seemed the writing was on the wall for Ron although he then managed to score a maximum 4-pointer on end number 4 to take the lead. As with quite a few bowlers throughout the tournament, Aon mistakenly failed to mitigate the damage on an opponent’s end to a lesser count.

Ron took the next 3 ends to surge ahead 7-4 but Aon came storming back with a brilliant score of 3 meaning after 7 ends the score was level at 7-7 with all to play for.

It must be noted that Ron’s beverage count for the day also on 7 although it was suspected the beverage in question wasn’t a 7-Up!

Ron fought back with a 3-pointer on end 8 but with Aon scoring a point on end 9 heading into the final end it was 10-8 to Ron.

As the final end got underway thunder and lightning were seen and heard in the distance, leaving the watching crowd wondering if it was perhaps an omen and would Aon produce a storming finish.

However, it was not to be as Ron held his nerve and claimed the final end by 1 shot to emerge victorious with a final score of 11-8.

In doing so Ron became the first ever bowler to win any championship at the club three times in succession. A new phrase was thus created as he declared it not a “three-peat” but a “three-Ron!”

Meanwhile, in the “Plate” competition for those that were eliminated in the first round, tournament organiser Ken “Sammy” Sampert beat Per Alhm 7-4 meaning a clean sweep of the trophies for Canada for the first time.

All in all it was a great day of bowling played in a superbly sporting manner and it was great to be back out on the green again. Kudos to Sammy for organising and running the event.

Kamala Lawn Bowls Club is open 6 days a week. All equipment is provided and casual attire only is required. Private parties can be catered for. For more information contact the club on 0952761587.

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