England pair thrash HK duo to take Classic title
Mark Walton completed his second 'double' after snaring the pairs title for England at the Hong Kong International Classic yesterday.
The 42-year-old Yorkshireman was the man in form all week as he repeated his 2004 success. He won last week's singles competition and showed his mental toughness again in the pairs final as he partnered Graham Shadwell to victory against Kowloon Cricket Club pair Jimmy Chiu Chung-lun and Chadwick Chan Lai-chuen at the Craigengower Cricket Club.
'It's unbelievable, no words can describe what I feel right now,' said Walton after the emphatic 20-7 victory. 'To win the double in 2004 was a dream and to come back here and do it again, I'm lost for words.'
Walton, who was competing in the Classic for the third time, won't be celebrating too much. He returns to work as an office manager in England on Tuesday.
'We have to get to the airport at 5am, so I think we'll have a few drinks before we get ready to head back home. Overall, it has been a memorable two weeks,' he said.
Chiu and Chan had hoped to follow in the footsteps of Ken Chan Ken-che and Noel Kennedy who won the pairs competition last year. But it was clear from the outset the England pair would prove too strong.
Walton and Shadwell jumped to a eight-shot lead and never really looked back as Chiu and Chan struggled to hold their own.
'Once we hit the front, we were looking good. We were never less than seven shots ahead,' said Walton. The pair earlier brushed aside Malaysia's Safuan Said and Fairul Izwan Muin 19-13 in the semi-final. KCC defeated Filipinos Leoncio Carreon and Emmanuel Portacio 21-8 to reach their first Classic final.
Chiu was disappointed with the result but still pleased that Hong Kong had reached the decider.
'I think class won in the end. Although we played as hard and as well as we could have, they showed their brilliance from the start. We still reached the final and must be happy with that. I didn't expect to get so far. Our goal before the tournament was to qualify for the knock-out stages, so we went well beyond that,' Chiu said.
The women's pairs competition was won by Malaysia's Siti Zalina Ahmad and Nor Hashimah Ismail who beat Wales' Hannah Smith and Anwen Butten 21-4. The Welsh pair had ended the run of Hong Kong's Queenie Lai Siu-lin and Dreamy Ng Yuk-lin, representing the Sea Birds Sports Club, 21-18 in an evenly-contested semi-final.