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Ulf defends his Phuket Singles Open Bowls title in steamy conditions

Ulf defends his Phuket Singles Open Bowls title in steamy conditions

BOWLS: The annual and prestigious Phuket Open Singles Championship took place last Monday (Apr 5) as 16 bowlers contested the “Blue Riband” trophy, named in honour of Donald Moore, the founder of Kamala bowls club.

Bowls
By Robert Knight

Sunday 11 April 2021, 01:00PM


Defending champion Ulf ‘Ue’ Egerstaad and the other players took to the green in ‘sticky dog’ heat conditions after the recent rains with a random draw and knockout format in place meaning there was no room for slip ups.

The heat was very much on several of the bowlers too as so many stellar performers on club days had yet to transfer and translate their excellent form on club days into a “major” success.

However, as the previous doubles competition saw underdogs Noon Mslk and Pat Ailm triumph, maybe the tide was turning this year. Was this going to be the day when nerves in majors could be overcome and a new face would finally lift a singles ‘major’ championship? Only Greg ‘Hollywood’ Holman in his rookie year had prevailed over the serial champions in recent years.

The defending champion was Swede Ulf ‘Ue’ Egerstaad who, like many other former champions, seemed to save their best form for championship days. The theory perhaps being that most club days are team events, and to emulate team success in the major individual competitions is a hard ask for some.

With action underway, first round casualties included four of the aforementioned club stalwarts and three former ‘major’ champions who all had high hopes coming into the competition.

Of the previous winners only Ulf and ‘Hollywood’ remained but, as they were to face one another in the quarter-finals, it meant at least three new faces would be progressing to the semi-final stage.

Ulf prevailed over Hollywood to set up a semi-final meeting with Ron Blackwood who had defeated Pat Ailm. The other half of the draw would see Dot Barker facing Mimi who was making a long awaited return to the green after a period away to attend to maternal duties.

Ulf dispatched Ron with surprising ease 12-2 whilst Dot prevailed against Mimi 10-8 in a very tightly contested match.

Ulf therefore was presented with the chance to defend his title and Dot was primed to take her first ‘major’ having made the difficult transition from her usual crown green bowling game in the UK to the flat green format employed in Phuket

Ulf took an early lead by sneaking 3 points on the first end but Dot battled back to lead 7-5 with 3 ends to go.

Ulf then claimed a point on end 8 to leave the score slightly in favour of Dot 7-6 meaning, with 2 ends to go, it was all up for grabs.

End 9 transpired to be pivotal to the whole contest as Ulf registered another 3-pointer leaving Dot trailing 7-9 going into the final end where Ulf held his nerve and ultimately triumphed 10-7.

Congratulations to Ulf for retaining his championship, a feat not often achieved given the calibre of bowlers in action and well played Dot for a fantastic effort.

Many of the aforementioned ‘hopefuls’ were left scratching their heads again as to how, when and if they were ever going to carry their excellent club form into the ‘majors’.

In the plate final for first round losers, two previous ‘majors’ champions clashed as Dean Lambert beat George Sasonow to claim the plate.

Extra praise and congratulations must go to Dot who, the previous Saturday (Apr3), had organised a charity bowls event where several newbies to the game took part to raise funds for orphaned children in Phuket The fantastic sum of B6000 baht was raised and thanks go to Dot for all her great work and the Bowls Club for their assistance.

The next competition is the Inter Club annual event when the more senior members of the club take on their junior counterparts in a Ryder Cup style format.

This year may see be a few surprise “seasoned veteran” bowlers qualifying for the junior team owing to COVID-realted demographic challenges.

Kamala Lawn Bowls Club is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday and everyone is welcome to join with all equipment provided. Barefoot bowls is the preferred style. Private parties are available on other days. For further details please contact the club on 0991307299.

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