Hong Kong's Kennedy falls just short

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 January, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 January, 1998, 12:00am

Hong Kong star Noel Kennedy came within an ace of recording the first major shock of the World Indoor Bowls Championships in England when he and partner George Whitelaw were edged out in a five-set thriller by number-two seeds Andy Thomson and Gary Smith.

Kennedy and his partner, who were rated 80-to-1 outsiders for the title, pushed the former champions before losing 1-7, 7-4, 3-7, 7-5, 7-6.

'I'm disappointed to have come so close and lost. But Andy Thomson and Gary Smith are two legends in the sport. I played well apart from the fourth set when my form dipped. But it was anybody's game in the fifth set,' said Kennedy.

The scratch pairing of Kennedy and Whitelaw posted notice of their intentions by storming home 7-1 in the opener of a best-of-five-sets contest. The Englishmen hit back in the second but lost the initiative again in the third. The fourth set went to the English pair 7-5 and when they opened up a 6-1 lead in the fifth and deciding set, it seemed all over.

But Kennedy and Whitelaw counted three shots and two to level at 6-6. A tense and deciding end saw Thomson and Smith score the single required to win.