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Seniors triumph in Phuket Open Pairs Championship

Seniors triumph in Phuket Open Pairs Championship

BOWLS: Phuket’s competitive bowls season returned on Tuesday (Feb 11) as 20 players contested the Phuket Open Pairs Championship at Kamala Lawn Bowls Club.

By Robert Knight

Sunday 16 February 2020, 09:30AM

Glen Collins (left) and Robbie Lord (middle) being presented with their trophy. Photo: Robert Knight

Glen Collins (left) and Robbie Lord (middle) being presented with their trophy. Photo: Robert Knight

This came hot on the heels of the annual inter-club Seniors versus Juniors match-up based on the Pryder Cup club format. I have been respectfully asked not to disclose the cut off age to qualify as a Junior, suffice to say that the combined age of the 16 competitors was in the region of 950 years!

The Seniors triumphed for a 3rd season in a row with a 18-8 victory over the Juniors.

With the pairings being drawn at random, it was always likely that there would be a mixture of skill levels when the draw was made.

It has to be said though, that with a recent influx of newcomers to bowls who have adapted very quickly to the nuances and tactics of the sport, it was clear that there would be no “gimme” matches and whoever was going to lift the trophy would have to perform at the highest level.

The fortunes of the pairings perhaps favoured three teams but when the group stages were drawn a “group of death” was created, levelling up the competition once again.

As expected Group A went down to the wire and before the last matches were played all four teams had a chance of progressing.

Similarly Group B had all possible permutations in the last round whilst Group C was a more straight forward affair as ex-Kiwi international Rick Kennard and “Super Swede” Kenta Lindberg swept the board.

Five previous winners of “majors” bit the dust in the group stages meaning the semi-final line ups were Rick and Kenta versus Robbie Lord and Glen Collins, with seasoned campaigners Dot Barker and Deano Lambert, undefeated in the group stages and perceived by many as favourties, facing relative newcomers to the sport Sammy Sampert and Per “Pat” Alm.

 The form book had already been ripped up in the early stages of the competition and it was again, as Sammy and Pat produced a master class of tactics and skill beyond the expectations of their relative inexperience to win 9-5.

In the other semi-final, Kenta and Rick were unable to repeat their form from previous rounds and were dispatched with relative ease 13-3 by Robbie and Glen.

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Refreshingly, the final line-up meant that there were going to be new maiden winners of a Kamala Lawn Bowls major, reflecting the improvement of the newcomers to the sport.

Impressive bowling from both pairs, including a “tied” end where both pairs delivered bowls that the umpire was unable to separate, meant after five ends the score was tied at 2-2.

As the final end commenced the score was 5-4 in Robbie and Glen’s favour with all to play for and the score changed hands continuously as the end progressed.

With his penultimate bowl, Sammy produced an absolute snorter of a run through to hold four shots. Glen, a previous losing finalist, was literally staring down the barrel with only one remaining bowl and a minimum of space to rescue the situation, no doubt fearing history was going to repeat itself.

Given the standard of bowling throughout the day it was no surprise that Glen bowled a “worldy” to wipe out the four bowl advantage and hold shot for his pairing.

Another “worldy” was now required from Sammy but by the finest of margins his bowl missed the mark leaving Robbie and Glen to triumph by a margin of 6-4.

With a total of 1,152 bowls being delivered during the day, the tournament once again went down to the final delivery to crown Glen and Robbie as champions.

The scene is now set for the next “major” with “The Blue Ribband Phuket Open Singles Championship” on March 10. All are welcome to enter.

Kamala Lawn Bowls Club is open six days a week and all equipment is provided. For more info please contact the club on 094 898 7476.

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