Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 restrictions, defending champion Greg ‘Hollywood’ Holman was stranded in his native Australia and therefore unable to defend his title but that meant the door was wide open for a new name to appear on the trophy.
An entry of 14 necessitated a selection of round robin matches in order to whittle the numbers down to the final eight and the knockout phase.
Surprising early casualties were current club champion Ron Blackwood and seasoned multiple previous ‘major’ winners George Sasanow and Rob Knight.
Only two previous champions were left in the final eight so the odds were in favour of there being a new first time champion. Of note was the fact that three quality lady bowlers, Dorothy ‘Dot’ Barker, Nit Noi Worada and Noon Onkanom, deservedly also progressed.
The odds of a new winner were shortened even further when another former champion Ulf Egerstaad was soundly defeated by “occasional” bowler Guy Winter, a former county bowler in his youth in the UK, who was making his return to the sport after an 18-month lay off.
Guy’s pedigree was further enhanced when he dispatched another previous champ Dean Lambert by a 7-6 margin in an epic semifinal of the highest quality and another one of many games to go to the final end.
In the other semifinal, Canadian Ken ‘Sammy’ Sampert produced his finest form to date as he brushed aside Nit Noi Worada 12-3. It was a somewhat one sided semifinal as Nit Noi had previously smashed two former champions and also her ‘better half’ to reach the semis.
It meant the final was between the best two bowlers on the day.
Sometimes an element of good fortune contributes to progression in any spots tournament but not in this case as Sammy and Guy were clearly the best performers on the day, despite Guy suffering a 13-2 defeat in his first round robin match where he was clearly attempting to find his groove in regards to his feet length and touch. He followed up this opening defeat with a record 17-2 victory which enabled him to progress to the latter stages of the competition.
With high expectations for a quality final the first two ends were somewhat of a disappointment for the spectators as both first time finalist’s were clearly suffering from nerves.
From end 3 onwards, however, both bowlers rediscovered their form to reproduce the quality of bowls expected and that they had delivered in the earlier rounds.
In ends 3 and 4 Guy made a couple of schoolboy errors, holding shot prior to his final bowl by inexcusably ‘running through’ and dislodging his winning bowl and passing shot to Sammy.
End 5 saw Guy aided by a massive stroke of fortune as he reclaimed the two lost shots to swing the game 5-4 in his favour.
The consensus was now that Guy was favourite and using his experience he edged to a 7-5 lead with 2 ends to go. In truth, in ends 6-8 such was the quality of the bowls that the score could have gone either way.
End 9 saw Guy eek another two points to extend his lead to 9-5 heading into the final end.
A mistake by Guy (in the opinion of the author) by failing to cover the rear of the end and a ‘Sammy master plan’ left the latter with the possibility of running the jack with his last bowl and forcing a play off.
By the narrowest of margins that some said was no more than a horse hair, Sammy missed the follow through on the jack leaving Guy holding four shots and triumphing 13-5.
Although the score was not a true reflection on the tightness of the game, Guy emerged victorious and the Kamala Open produced another first time winner.
Congratulations to Guy Winter!
Kamala lawn bowls is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Private parties are welcome and can play other available days if desired. All equipment is provided.
For further details on Lawn bowls in Phuket please contact the club on 0991307299.