ZIMBABWE and the Channel Islands will make their debuts at this week's Hong Kong International Bowls Classic, which starts with the singles competition on Saturday at the Craigengower Cricket Club. Zimbabwe, fielding Phil Dale and Mark McCormick, replace Australia, while the Channel Islands' Adrian Welch and David Le Marquand take Israel's place. Ken Wallis, president of the Hong Kong Lawn Bowls Association, said Zimbabwe were late replacements to the tournament. 'Australia were to take part in a World Series tournament so originally turned down the invitation to Hong Kong,' said Wallis. 'But now the World Series has been deferred. Australia tried to get back into Hong Kong, but by that time it was too late. 'The Channel Islands have replaced Israel, but that's just normal rotation. We like to spread the invitations around each year.' Bill McMahon and David Tso make up the Hong Kong team for the pairs event, which starts on Monday at the Kowloon Bowling Green Club. Hong Kong have been drawn in the difficult Section A for the pairs alongside South Africa, Scotland, Wales, New Zealand and Ireland. England, Fiji, Canada, Zimbabwe and the Channel Islanders are the international teams in Section B. The 12 teams in each section play a round-robin with the top four going through to the quarter-finals. Hong Kong's Noel Kennedy will have a tough time defending his Classic singles title. Kennedy, the territory's singles representative at next month's Pacific Championships, has a first-round clash with City Lawn Bowls Club's M. C. Wong. 'It's going to be hard,' he said. 'It will be harder defending the title that it was winning it because everybody will be out to get you.' Canada's Bill Boettger, beaten by Kennedy in last year's final, plays Football Club's Ran Lakoon in his first round match. The singles event features 64 players in a straight knock-out format.